MISSOULA — The Oberweiser name is revered in Drummond for the success football coach Jim Oberweiser had in leading the Trojans to five State C 8-Man championships from 2003-09.
His son, Kevin Oberweiser, was a standout football and basketball player in the town of about 350 people and chose to pursue the hardwood game at the collegiate level. That path has continued to prove fruitful for Kevin, a 2014 Drummond grad and 2019 NAIA third-team All-American who recently signed to play professional basketball in Ireland.
“I haven’t gotten time to really soak it in. Maybe once I get over there it’ll feel a little bit more surreal,” Oberweiser told 406mtsports.com in a phone call while on vacation in Mexico. “It's really cool to represent Class C and small-town Montana at the same time. That was kind of a big push for me to want to pursue an overseas career.”
Oberweiser will be suiting up for the Limerick Celtics, who play in the second-highest level of Irish pro basketball, the 15-team Division I. He’ll be heading over in September to prepare for the league season, which runs from September through March.
Oberweiser, whose family has Irish heritage, isn’t overly concerned about playing in Limerick since he feels the city is rather Americanized and shouldn’t be too difficult to adapt to.
“I think it’ll be a really good experience for me,” he said. “It’s a pretty small level, and coming from a NAIA school, I think it would’ve maybe been somewhat difficult to get into a more competitive league. It’ll be a good start-off league.
"The competition level definitely isn’t where I want to end up. I’d like to climb the ladder a little higher and get into some more competitive leagues. I think this will be a good one to go over there and get my feet wet.”
Oberweiser will be the team’s only American player, and as such, he expects to carry a large part of the load for the Celtics, who went 12-12 and finished fourth in their conference last season. He scored 1,136 points in his two seasons at Jamestown after transferring from Montana State-Northern.
A guard, Oberweiser showcased his sharpshooting prestige at University of Jamestown in North Dakota, sinking a single-season school record 127 3-pointers as a senior. His 675 points that season were the second most in a single season in school history.
The fact that Oberweiser gets to continue his playing days at the pro level is an exciting feeling for him.
“It was something that was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to do,” Oberweiser said. “After going to Northern and not producing, it got a little further away. I was presented a good opportunity at Jamestown and was able to produce and got my numbers up a little bit. It made my chances to keep playing a little more likely. When I actually ended up signing the dotted line, it felt great. It was a cool moment.”
At 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, Oberweiser knows he has to bulk up and adjust to the physicality of the league, which he said is slightly more physical than the college league in which he played. He feels he’s in a good position to make the move without major issues.
“I think it makes the transition pretty easy knowing that I’m always in pretty good condition,” Oberweiser said. “I pride myself on that. So when I get over there, maybe that’ll counterbalance being a little bit smaller or a little bit undersized in some positions. I think my conditioning and that pace can help me out.”
Oberweiser hopes this is the start of a years-long playing journey that he can parlay into an opportunity where he has the experience and name recognition to stay around the game once his playing days are over.
“Professionally, I would like to do some sports-specific training, like be a basketball trainer, so down the line I think it’ll be really nice to have that hands-on, first-hand experience of what it’s like over there in different divisions and different leagues in different countries to try and express those messages to kids I train in the future,” Oberweiser said.
“Or, I’m looking at going into coaching, too, so that’d be another possibility where I could give back to the game and give back to the younger generation, too, if I get the opportunity. Hopefully, after I’m done playing, I can hop into training or coaching and those experiences will be useful for others.”