Sophomore Guard off the Schneid(erman)
Nov. 9, 2000
Jonathan Schneiderman's first passion is basketball.
He hasn't found a second passion - but he's trying.
Schneiderman, a sophomore point-guard from Forreston, Ill. (pop. 1,400), admittedly struggled in his first year at UIC. He appeared in 31 games and averaged 3.8 points a game.
"That's probably why I had a long year, because I put a lot of pressure on myself basketball-wise," Schneiderman said of his basketball mentality. "Since that wasn't going well, I didn't think anything else was going well."
Schneiderman took some time for himself following the Flames' season-ending loss to Detroit in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference championships at the UIC Pavilion in March.
"Right after the season, I sat there and watched the conference tournament," Schneiderman said. "I realized that I'd been through a pretty long year. I struggled in the beginning and then with the whole adjustment of being a freshman in college. I realized how much more I can do."
Schneiderman returned from spring break feeling rejuvenated.
"I went home for spring break and I came back feeling 10 years older," Schneiderman said. "I felt more knowledgeable of where I was at, more free, more comfortable with the setting."
Schneiderman became comfortable enough to begin the transition from small-town boy to big-city man.
"Last year I don't know if I went downtown more than one time," Schneiderman said. "I knew it was a big city and there was a lot of stuff to do, but I didn't know what there was to do."
"This summer I was at the beach at least once or twice a week and just enjoying myself," Schneiderman continued. "I love being at the beach and playing volleyball. I went down to the beach to run a few miles on a Friday before the Fourth of July. I walked down to the beach on Montrose and there's this international volleyball tournament. I sat there by myself for three or four hours just watching in amazement of how good these guys are."
A year older and a year wiser, Schneiderman looks to improve by leaps and bounds for the 2000-2001 campaign. He hopes his experience will be of service to Coach Jimmy Collins' highly touted recruiting class.
"I'm going to look at the freshmen this year and understand if they're struggling, because I've been through it now," Schneiderman said.
Schneiderman not only wants to help the freshmen but his other teammates as well.
"This year I want to be more of a creator for other people," Schneiderman said. "I spent a lot of time on the perimeter last year just kind of shuffling my feet and getting ready to shoot."
"Mainly it's just how you play strong on the court. It took me awhile to learn how to do that and I'm still learning. It's just the little things of getting open. The basic stuff of coming off screens the right way and playing at different speeds."
Schneiderman, along with his teammates, have prepared all summer for a tough schedule that includes defending national champion Michigan State, Illinois and Iowa State.
"Our experience is going to take us to the next level. We've got everybody coming back and everybody has gotten a little better, a little stronger," Schneiderman said. "If I ever thought about quitting a workout early, I start thinking about those games. It can't get much bigger than playing against Michigan State, Iowa State and Illinois. My senior year (in high school) I was hoping I could play against them. Now it's not just playing against them, you want to compete against them."