written by: Natalia Chino ’23
Growing up in the small town of Poughkeepsie, New York, Sam peek was used to an intimate community where everyone knew each other. Growing up alongside his entire extended family who have their roots in Poughkeepsie for decades, it was easy for Sam to connect with his roots. Although he wasn’t as sport-oriented as he would have liked, he learned to appreciate the quaint aspects of his neighborhood because it taught him to appreciate simplicity. As a child, he remembers playing basketball and running almost every day with his friends in the scenic outdoor parks that Poughkeepsie is known for. While he hung around for as long as he could remember in his hometown, he decided to move on to Trinity-Pawling in Grade 10 for a higher level of competition at a prep school. Now in high school, Peek said that the self-discipline in the weight room and the intense training encouraged by his high school coaches quickly increased his athleticism. At Trinity-Pawling, he learned from older players who acted as mentors and accepted him easily on his first time away from home at a boarding school. Learning collaboration, routine, positivity and how to take responsibility within a team are some of the most important attributes he developed and which prepared him for his transition to college life at Wesleyan.
On the college tour, Peek prioritized a location that had a good balance between academics and sports – this is where Wesleyan and NESCAC caught his eye. Although he had received offers from schools in California and other parts of the country, Peek wanted to be close enough to his home that he could be free while still seeing his family whenever he wanted. He was won over by Wes when he visited and spent the night with his teammate and current roommate. Antoine walker ’22. During his visit, he played pickup with Walker and a bunch of guys he would potentially play basketball with. It was then that he realized that not only were his future teammates extremely talented, but they also had fantastic team chemistry that made him excited to play theirs. sides on the ground. A few weeks later, he saw them again while they were playing at Vassar College and that ultimately sealed the deal.
At Wesleyan, Peek has enjoyed the past four years primarily because he’s been able to cultivate a strong bond with a group of guys he describes as “family.” Whether they grab $ 5 on Tuesdays at Metro Movies on Main Street, host group study sessions in the science library, play board games at 19B, or eat eight plates of food in Usdan, Peek says he and his teammates are like family. The meaningful friendships he made have also helped him gain support while trying to juggle rigorous academics in Wesleyan. While Trinity-Pawling previously exposed him to academic rigor and time management skills, Peek said his transition to college forced him to develop beneficial skills to reduce his stress levels. Although his major in psychology made many of his classes difficult, Peek says he has invested in self-care practices like deep breathing and meditation that make him a more peaceful student. Methods of managing mental health were encouraged by older teammates he saw as role models. One player in particular, Jordan Bonner ’20, made Peek’s time at Wesleyan even more rewarding as he always received his wisdom and guidance from him. Peek saw that Bonner and the other players were often busy but always doing things that made him work even harder. Plus, memories like going to Miami with the team in his first and second years and being undefeated at every tournament allowed Peek to benefit from his college experience even more.
Although Peek is deeply saddened to leave the school which made him the positive and determined person he is today, he looks forward to the next chapter of his life where he plans to pursue his passion for the game in playing professionally abroad. As he plans to play professionally in the Spanish and Greek leagues, Peek will always remember how the Wesleyan basketball team helped him develop his expertise as a player on the pitch and a student in the classroom. . We wish Peek the best as he continues to make a name for himself in the basketball world!