Greg Wiltjer

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Greg Wiltjer (born November 26, 1960) is a retired Canadian professional basketball center. He played in several important tournaments for the Canadian national basketball team, including the 1984 Summer Olympics, as well as the European Cup Winner's Cup championship with FC Barcelona, and Aris BC from 1987 to 1989.

Amateur career[edit]

Six foot, eleven inches (2.11 m) in stature, Wiltjer was born in Whitehorse, Yukon and grew up on Vancouver Island playing hockey and soccer and did not begin to play basketball formally until he was a junior in high school. He attended North Idaho College where in 1979-80 and '80-81 he posted very good numbers and the attention of the University of Washington. Members of the university's coaching staff and booster club were found by the Pac-10 to have violated player recruiting rules. Wiltjer then opted to join fellow conference school Oregon State University.

Wiltjer's sole season with the Beavers was memorable for the team's successful post-season run. Featuring A. C. Green and Charlie Sitton, the Ralph Miller coached Beavers reached the Elite Eight of the 1982 NCAA Tournament where as a No. 2 seed they fell to the top-seeded Georgetown Hoyas, led by Patrick Ewing. Wiltjer sat out the next season as he transferred to play for then Canadian powerhouse the University of Victoria. Wiltjer was a prominent member of a Vikes team, led by Eli Pasquale and coached by Ken Shields, that won the CIAU championship in 1984 as part of their 5-year consecutive run as national champions.

Professional career[edit]

Wiltjer was drafted in the second round of the 1984 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls but never played a game in the league, nor was he ever part of a regular season or playoff NBA roster despite attending a number of pre-season camps for teams such as the Indiana Pacers in 1990, Los Angeles Clippers in 1991, and Cleveland Cavaliers in 1993.

Instead Wiltjer plied his trade with top clubs in Italy, Spain, and Greece playing a total of 12 seasons in Europe. He was a member of FC Barcelona during a season and the team won the European Cup Winner's Cup in 1986. He played for Aris BC from 1987 to 1989 and he won 2 Greek Championships (1988, 1989), 2 Greek Basketball Cups (1988, 1989) and he took part in 2 consecutive final fours of the European Champions Cup at Ghent (1988) and Munich (1989).

Wiltjer played 1991-92 in the Continental Basketball Association with the Omaha Racers.

Canadian national team[edit]

Wiltjer was the top rebounder for the 1984 Olympic tournament as the Canadians finished the tournament in fourth place. (The Michael Jordan led, Bobby Knight coached Americans won the gold medal.) Wiltjer was also a member of the Canadian team which were one of the first to face the original Dream Team in a competitive match, at the 1992 FIBA Tournament of the Americas. The Americans won the game easily 105-61.

Personal[edit]

As of 2007, Wiltjer was coaching junior high school basketball for West Linn AAU in West Linn, Oregon, his adopted hometown - his wife Carol is an Oregon native. His son, Kyle Wiltjer, played two seasons at the University of Kentucky, serving as a key role-player in 2011–12 on their way to capturing the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, before transferring to Gonzaga after the 2012–13 season. Before arriving at Kentucky, Kyle had led Jesuit High School to three consecutive Oregon state championships; he was also a 2011 McDonald's All-American, where he was the winner of the event's 3-point contest.

Wiltjer has also been a coach in various European countries, from 2004 to 2006.

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