PALATINE, lll. – Harper freshman basketball player Brad Reibel played soccer at Div. I University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in the fall of 2012. It seemed like a good fit because it was close to home and Reibel's club soccer coach had a strong relationship with the UIC coach. Despite these positives, something was missing.
"I just missed playing basketball," Reibel said. "I never had a time in my life where I didn't play basketball and soccer. Basketball was always a constant."
Reibel withdrew from UIC after the spring semester and enrolled at Harper College to continue his education and basketball career. A steady presence who has started all 28 games for the Hawks and elevated his game in conference play, Reibel now owns the title of 15th Harper College Athlete of the Week for the 2013-14 school year.
Reibel immediately felt at home at Harper playing alongside his former Prospect High School teammates Kevin Sexton (/Prospect) and Will Botefuhr (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect). He also formed chemistry quickly with local area players who were former opponents such as Tyler Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows ), Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator) and Stefan Vucicevic (Arlington Heights, Ill./Hersey).
"You're at home, your focus is going to work out, going to the gym for practice and lifting weights," Reibel said of the benefits of Harper. "Academically, it's great, and now I have basketball as well."
The 6-foot-2 guard/forward has been crucial to the Hawks' success this year that included an early season eight-game winning streak and a five-game N4C winning streak. He ranks second on the team in several offensive categories, including points per game(13.7), rebounds per game (4.5), assists per game (3.4) and field goal percentage (52.0).
"He's a really strong competitor and dedicated kid who knows the game very well," said head coach Tony Amarino. "He does a lot of things well, is very intelligent, deceptively quick and a physical player."
Reibel has elevated his play in conference, leading the team in scoring at 15.4 PPG and rebounding at 4.6 RPG. He says he's improved greatly from his time in high school to the player he is now. In high school, Reibel was more of a mid-range player in high school, but a more consistent long jumper and an occasional 3-pointer has opened up his game. He is 17-of-49 this year from deep (34.7 percent) after only attempting four 3-pointers in two years of varsity basketball.
The business management major wants to continue his basketball career after Harper and has looked into playing at a Div. II or III school. With three years of eligibility left, Reibel will be a very attractive player to many four-year schools.
"He plays hard all the time and gives you everything he has," Amarino said. "He expects a lot from himself and is a solid character kid."