Things just move slower in California, especially on the basketball court. Problem is, that doesn’t quite suit rising senior guard Katin Reinhardt of Mater Dei (CA).
“Out here, they run a lot of set offense and don’t push the ball as much as out East. I like to get out and run and push the ball and dunk,” he said.
And, over the past few months, Reinhardt has caught the attention of high-major Division I coaches who wouldn’t mind adding a flashy, 6’5” guard to their up-tempo offense.
Though born in California, Reinhardt and his family lived in New Jersey for six years, before moving back West, prior to his enrollment in high school. But, he still maintains roots on the East Coast, with his grandparents in New Jersey.
This East-West dynamic gives a uniqueness to his game, growing up in one place during his basketball formative years and putting his talents on display in another. He recalls spending much of his time at Hoop Group Headquarters in Neptune, New Jersey.
“I kind of miss stuff in the East, playing in tournaments and being around basketball there,” he said. “I would be in the gym five days a week, helping run games at Hoop Group when I wasn’t playing.”
Location was the deciding factor when Reinhardt committed to play for head coach Kevin O’Neill and Southern California on New Year’s Eve. But, after discussing it with his father, Ernie, Reinhardt decided it was best to reopen his recruitment this July and see what other options were on the table.
“USC is only a 40 minutes drive from my house, so I liked that my parents could come see me play,” he said about his commitment. “But, I didn’t think of other things like how I fit in or how I would contribute.”
And early indications are there will be a lot on that table by the time he makes his college decision.
After a strong showing at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in June, his stock has risen sharply during the July recruiting period and he now claims offers from schools that include UNLV, Gonzaga, West Virginia, Baylor, UTEP, NC State, and St. John’s.
Reinhardt has transformed himself from purely a shooter into a multidimensional threat on the offensive end. With his size, he has the ability to look over the defense, allowing him to see the floor well, create off the dribble, and find the open man. His handle is impressive, considering his size, and he could readily mold himself from the combo guard he is now to a fulltime point guard at the collegiate level because of his high basketball IQ.
Following Reinhardt’s decision to reopen his recruitment, St. John’s was one of the many schools to get into the mix.
“After the Fab 48 tournament in Las Vegas, they were the first ones to offer me a scholarship,” he said. “I was excited because I watched a lot of [St. John’s] games last season and I like their style of play.”
There are already player connections between Reinhardt and the St. John’s program, thanks to Steve Lavin and St. John’s strong recruiting base in California.
“[Steve Lavin] has had players got to the next level from my position and that’s something I’d be looking at, if I choose to go there.” -Katin Reinhardt
He is a friend of St. John’s signee Norvel Pelle and they have already discussed some future possibilities.
“My freshman year, [Norvel and I] were both at UCLA camp,” Reinhardt explained. “And, there, we talked about playing together at the same college.”
Aside from his personal connections with the program, Reinhardt says there is a lot to like about the prospect of playing for the Red Storm, including developing his game and working with coaches who have experience with high-level talent.
“I really like [Coach Lavin’s] coaching style and how he runs the system, in terms of the guards,” he said. “He’s had players go to the next level from my position and that’s something I’d be looking at, if I choose to go there.”
He says location is no longer a factor in his college decision, which has recently sparked the interest of many schools on the East Coast. At the end of the summer, he says he will be narrowing his list to five schools. He plans to take official visits to each, saying that his recruitment is currently “wide open,” with a decision coming in October or November.
He may look like a typical beach-going Cali kid, but one thing is for sure: he can play. But, will the bright lights of New York City be enough to draw this Top 100 prospect to Queens? The World’s Most Famous Arena may help.
“Playing in that kind of atmosphere [at Madison Square Garden] is awesome. It’s like playing in LA, you get a lot of recognition,” he said. “Big East Basketball is huge.”