Pushing for a Conference Title, Schreiber is Playing the Best Ball of his Career
If one had to describe the leadership style of senior basketball player Kellen Schreiber ’22, it would be leading by example. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Schreiber found himself thrust into the spotlight in a leadership position he had not foreseen. But where most stepped back, he stepped up.
“My junior year, I had to take more of a leadership role,” Schreiber said. “Because there wasn’t going to be a real season, there was only one senior on the team. So, me and Tyler Watson [‘22], both as juniors, had to step into a bigger leadership role than probably we were expecting. But I trained a lot over the summer; I played basketball in my driveway, I was out there every day, and I was able to run more. So, me and Tyler came into those leadership roles a little more as juniors just because of COVID, and that’s just how that all worked out for us.”
Schreiber, a history major from Indianapolis, came to Wabash having played basketball at Roncalli High School and made an instant impact on the team. In his freshman year, Schreiber featured in all 27 games, for a total of 534 minutes over the course of the 2018-19 season. But the adjustment from high school to college was a challenge to overcome.
“I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was,” Schreiber said. “The guys are just bigger, stronger, and faster. There’s a big gap between high school basketball and college basketball, and so there’s a learning curve there. It took me a few weeks to get acclimated to the speed of the game and the strength of the other guys. That was the majority of my freshman year, just learning how to play at this new level and at this new pace.”
The adjustment did not take long, and Schreiber quickly became a regular starter. But it was during the abridged 2020-21 season that Schreiber truly stepped up and led from the front. Over 12 games, he averaged 19.6 points and was named NCAC Men’s Basketball Athlete of the Week for his performances in a pair of Wabash victories over Ohio Wesleyan. Then, just a few weeks later in March 2021, he scored a career-best 30 points in a 91- 79 victory over Denison.
“Kellen is a very good player,” Head Basketball Coach Kyle Brumett said. “He is very skilled around the basketball and has great touch. He brings a lot of energy to our team; sometimes his excitement gets him in foul trouble, but our team feeds off his energy. He is also a very caring person. He cares about his teammates, and he cares about our program, so he has been a big part of our team for the last four years.”
Off the court, Schreiber embodies the ethos of the Wabash student athlete. He is currently working on his senior history thesis, an exploration of baseball and its role in American imperialism. He has also been instrumental in organizing the College’s “Books, Basketball, and Beyond” program, an initiative aimed at helping local elementary school students develop their reading skills.
“About once or twice a month the team goes over to the local elementary school to read a book and hang out with the kids,” Schreiber said. “I want to be a teacher, so for me it’s especially fun. Having that opportunity to be in the classroom with kids and being able to spend time with them in a classroom setting is great for us and great for the community because they get to see us interacting with the kids outside of just basketball.”
Schreiber has continued his good form into the 2021-2022 season. After seven games, he has averaged 15.7 points per game and racked up 162 minutes of playing time. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Schreiber continues to perform at the highest level, both on and off the court. But he could not have done any of this without the help of those around him.
“One of the biggest things these past two years has been the team just helping me through,” Schreiber said. “It was difficult not having a regular season last year, but I think our team culture improved because of it and we were able to become more of a team. I’d definitely say the trajectory of the program is pretty good, and it’s all because of the guys on the team.”