Dwyer adjusting well to life and basketball in the Ivy League
PHILADELPHIA – When he first entered college, former Fenwick High School basketball star Dan Dwyer had his apprehensions about how his life was going to change when he left the comforts of home.
But these days, the 6-foot-8-inch sophomore forward is feeling more at ease as part of the University of Pennsylvania family. He is starting to get more minutes on the floor, and he is expected to make significant contributions to the Quakers over the next two seasons.
So far this season, Dwyer has appeared in 21 of the Quakers 25 games, and he has been in the starting lineup three times. Primarily known as a rebounder, he is averaging 1.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 11 minutes per game.
In an early December start against Binghamton, Dwyer played 24 minutes and pulled down seven boards. On Jan. 20, he came off the bench against St. Joseph’s and grabbed 7 rebounds in 14 minutes. During the five-game stretch from Dec. 1 through Jan. 20, Dwyer averaged 6.2 rebounds per game.
“In the middle half of the season, we had a couple of guys go down with injuries and I was coming off the bench” he recently told the West Cook News. “I had a good stretch of rebounding, and that’s something I’ve been working on. I’m really just trying to work on (keeping) my energy up, getting my rebounds up and helping us in any way when I’m in there."
At first, Dwyer was more than a little anxious about how he would make the transition from high school to the Ivy League. Dwyer describes himself as quiet and somewhat shy, and he felt the pressure in the early going.
“When I first came here, it was very challenging; the time commitment to sports and academics here, it put me outside of my comfort zone” he said. “But this year, I think I’ve come out of my shell a little more. I’m staying on top of my academics, and I’m just getting used to the work ethic that is expected out of all of us here."
He says that he learned to manage his time, talk to his professors about getting assignments in and to study as much as he can during road trips.
He gives a great deal of credit for his development as a student athlete to his first cousin, Tricia Liston. After a stellar basketball career at Fenwick, she played at Duke University.
Reported to be one of the best shooters in Blue Devil history, she ranks eighth on the NCAA all-time with a 45.9 career three-point field goal percentage. She also led Duke to two ACC Tournament Championships, three ACC regular season titles and three trips to the NCAA Elite Eight over her four years.
“She was always there for me last year, giving advice on what her freshman year felt like” Dwyer said. “She was going through a lot of the same stuff I was going through. She’s just always been able to talk to me about basketball and life, on the court and off the court. She’s just been a really big support for me."
Dwyer is majoring in political science because the degree offers a variety of career options.
“I took a couple of intro courses into it; and it was kind of interesting how it ties into many things, whether it's politics or economics," he said. “I think that political science is a valuable tool – you get experience with writing papers and analyzing data. I feel like it’s an all-around education."
Although he hasn’t settled on a specific career path yet, he plans to use his time during the summers doing internship work.
“That will help me to find out what I do like and what interests me, and that will help to figure out what I want to do after I graduate," Dwyer said. “Being a sports agent would be my dream job. I think that would be cool, being on the other side, seeing how the business side works, being able to work with other athletes.”