Sam Silverstein is a 2019 New Trier High School graduate who currently plays basketball for Harvard University. He was named MVP of the open men’s Team USA squad at the Maccabiah Games
1. Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?
I just try to stay super loose. I’ll listen to music as close to game time as possible — just a short playlist, just to stay really loose. Basketball is a lot of fun, so let’s go have fun out there.
2. What is the biggest difference between high school and college hoops?
The size and speed of everyone out there. There were super talented skill players I played against in high school. The biggest difference is now all those guys, instead of being 5-(foot)-10, are 6-6.
3. What is your favorite thing to do off the court?
In the summer, I love going to the beach, but during the season, when it’s cold, just hang out and play video games with my roommates and friends.
4. Why did you choose Harvard?
When I graduated high school, I looked at all (Division III) schools and then I did a post-grad year to try and get to play (Division I). Harvard was first school that reached out and expressed interest. I meshed really well right away with the coaching stuff and fell in love with campus and everything else they have going on.
5. What video game are you playing right now?
I still love “Fortnite.” I know maybe paste it’s past its prime, but I love it. I play a lot of (“NBA 2K”) with my brother (Noah). That’s it. When I was Israel, it was a lot of Sudoku and word searches.
6. If you could play another sport, what would it be?
Football was my first love growing up. I think maybe it’s too dangerous to play now. I would still say football. I love it, I miss it.
7. Other than playing professionally, what is your dream job?
I would love to stay involved in sports. I thought about coaching for a long time, but I think being a general manager is better suited for my skill set. If outside of sports, then something that helps people and makes a positive impact.
8. If you are in Walgreens with a couple bucks, what are you buying?
Chocolate milk and Ritz peanut butter crackers.
9. Who is your favorite NBA player?
Derrick Rose. When I first started paying attention to basketball, like 7 or 8 years old, it was his rookie year. It was so exciting and the Bulls were good. My dad used to take me and my older brother (Jonathan) to games. It was awesome.
10. How would you describe the Maccabiah Games experience?
It was incredible; it was amazing. Three weeks in Israel. My team was 11 other guys from all over the place. We got to tour the country, play high-level basketball and hang out with so many Jewish athletes. I didn’t know there were so many Jewish athletes. My dad was there, which was awesome. … It was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To represent USA was incredible.
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