There was a day last June when, in the eyes of the NCAA, Romeo Weems officially became a high school junior.
That meant college basketball programs could intensify their recruitment of the New Haven star with text messages.
“His phone blew up,” Rockets coach Tedaro France said.
So it went for a 6-foot-7 wing player who soon after turning 16 in June added a gold medal to a resume that included a state high school championship and state-wide Player of the Year recognition.
What’s yet to come is anyone’s guess, but it figures to be compelling as Weems sifts through college courtship, a shot at another state championship and a second opportunity to play international ball.
“He’s been in the gym a lot, working on his jump shot and his ball skills,” France said. “He worked on that non-stop, and he got stronger, too – more explosive.
“It’s going to be scary now.”
Weems, who averaged 18.1 points and 11.8 rebounds for the Rockets last season, cannot make official recruiting visits until his senior year, but he already has seen a lot of schools that would like to secure his services.
He visited DePaul -- the Blue Demons have a new arena in Chicago – on his own in early November, adding that campus tour to a list that included Creighton, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri and Ohio State.
The 2017 Associated Press Class B Player of the Year has had scholarship offers from several schools, including Iowa, U-M, MSU, OSU and Virginia Commonwealth.
And there’s more.
Weems was named to the Nike Elite 100 list and attended the Nike Top 100 camp in St. Louis during the summer.
He also attended the USA Basketball U17 mini-camp in Colorado in October, where players auditioned for a team that will compete in international play next summer.
“It went well,” France said of the tryout.
A member of the USA Basketball U16 team that won gold in Argentina in June, Weems missed a good share of New Haven’s summer hoops activity due to other obligations, including playing for The Family AAU team.
He participated in a team camp at Chippewa Valley, and Weems’ impact was felt in multiple ways, France said.
“When he came back with us for a week, we were a totally different team,” France, who’s starting his 10th season as the Rockets’ coach, said. “The other kids played harder, and they wanted to defend.
“I don’t know if they take pride in playing with him, or if he has that effect on them by making them better. But it was amazing to see how he could come in and change the dynamics of how kids play.”
In Argentina, Weems started all five USA games and averaged 7.4 points and 7.4 rebounds. He was 14-of-23 from the floor and had eight steals as the Americans went 5-0.
“The experience he got with USA – you can’t teach that,” France said. “He started on that team, and he was one of the leaders.
“Everywhere he goes, he wins. The kid is just a winner.”
Weems lists chemistry as one of his favorite school subjects. He’s apparently a good student of team chemistry, too.
“He doesn’t care about scoring,” France said. “The kid can pass. He is so unselfish. He rebounds. He runs the break.
“He does so much with his size that he creates a lot of mismatches (for opponents) to deal with. Not only is he a great player, he brings out the best in his teammates. It’s pretty cool.”
New Haven opens the season against De La Salle at 5 p.m. Dec. 10 at Calihan Hall. That will be part of a series of games matching teams from the Catholic League against MAC opponents.