After two seasons as a walk-on at UNC-Wilmington, which meant his parents were footing most of the bill for college, the work ethic and patience of Shane Reybold of North Laurel was rewarded before his junior year in 2012 when he was put on an athletic scholarship by coach Buzz Petersen.
"It was exciting. He appreciated the work I was putting in," Reservoir High graduate Reybold said of Petersen, a college teammate at the University of North Carolina with NBA legend Michael Jordan.
But before this season, his senior year for the Seahawks, Reybold was taken off scholarship because UNC-Wilmington had another player to fill that spot. Instead of being bitter, Reybold, a rugged 6-foot-8 forward, has kept plugging away for Petersen.
In late November, he had 19 rebounds against Winthrop — the fourth-best single-game mark in school history — and his patience is being rewarded in another way now: more playing time.
Reybold started four of the first six games and averaged 24.3 minutes per contest for the Seahawks. That is more time than he saw in his first two seasons combined, when he played just 144 minutes and averaged about five minutes per outing.
This year, he was fifth on the team with five points per game and first in rebounds at 7.2 per outing for the Seahawks, who had won three straight in November and play Jan. 11 at Towson.
"It has been a tough four years," said Reybold, whose team was 33-59 in his first three seasons. "But we are headed in the right direction."
While Reybold could most likely find a pro job in a lower-level European league after graduation, he has already decided he will enter a graduate program in physical therapy next summer at the University of Delaware, where his parents and an older brother attended college.
"I thought about it," he said of playing overseas. "I am comfortable with that decision."
Reybold is one of several players with Laurel ties in college basketball. Even with a population of around 25,000, Laurel has an impressive list of players at the Division I level.
Jonathan Arledge [Meade High], a product of the Laurel Boys and Girls Club, is a senior at George Mason University and has dealt with a back injury since early this season. Arledge was a strong offensive weapon at the end of last season and was counted on heavily as the Patriots made the move to the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Former Pallotti players now at the Division I level include Langston Burnett [sophomore at Wagner], Will Lyle [sophomore Mount St. Mary's], Aubrey Williams [redshirt freshman at Toledo] and Keron DeShields [junior at Montana], who appeared in the NCAA tournament as a freshman.
Among women, Chizoba Ekedigwe [Pallotti] is a junior center at Seton Hall in New Jersey. She started in a loss to nationally ranked South Carolina on Nov. 17.
Laurel resident Raven Makins [Archbishop Spalding] is a sophomore at Central Connecticut, where she played in 28 games as a freshman and came off the bench in the first four games this season. Sophomore center Tiffany Padgett [Pallotti] started the first four games this season for Loyola.
In the coaching ranks, former Laurel High boys head coach Keith Coutreyer is the associate head coach at Howard University; while Aki Thomas, a former Laurel resident who played at Howard, is the head men's coach at Maryland, Baltimore County.
It would not be a surprise to see some of these players take part in March Madness next year. But for Reybold, just getting to contribute is huge.
"I am happy with where I am right now," he said.
Editor's note: David Driver is a former Laurel Leader sports editor.
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