There have been no Michael Jordan sightings for Shane Reybold, a resident of Laurel and a walk-on freshman forward for the University of North Carolina-Wilmington in men's basketball.
Reybold is playing for head coach Buzz Peterson, who was roommates with Jordan in college at North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the two have remained friends ever since the 1980s. After receiving the head coach position at UNC-Wilmington last year, Jordan even gave Peterson a call to congratulate him.
"We have not seen him yet," said Reybold, in an interview on the team bus on the way to Saturday's game at James Madison University in Virginia, said of the former NBA star.
The 6-foot-7 Reybold, a standout last season at Reservoir High School, headed to UNC-Wilmington last summer at time when the cupboard was pretty bare on the roster as several players from last season's squad did not return. The team was picked to place 12th out of 12 teams in the Colonial Athletic Association when the CAA coaches and media met in late October in Arlington, Va.
"We were picked to finish last in the CAA and we already have three [league] wins. We are definitely surprising a lot of people," Reybold said before Saturday's 63-54 loss at James Madison. "It is a good feeling. A lot of people are excited about the new coaching staff."
Reybold, who had a 3.9 grade-point average at Reservoir, scored the first basket of his college career on Wednesday against Delaware.
"I got the ball around the foul line and drove down the right side. It was pretty exciting," he said.
Reybold had played in several games off the bench but had yet to score for the Seahawks, who play on Jan. 19 at Hofrstra in CAA action. He took some kidding from his teammates since Cam Chambers, another walk-on for the team, scored a basket before Reybold did this season. Earlier this season, in December, UNC-Wilmington beat ACC school Wake Forest in Greensboro, N.C.
"That was a cool place to play. That was exciting," he saidof the Greensboro Coliseum, a long-time home of the ACC tournament.
So far Reybold has seen limited time but the coaching staff, which includes Baltimore product Kevin Norris, has high hopes for Reybold.
"This is a learning process and I am getting used to the bigger guys and the faster pace of the game," Reybold said. "They want me to keep working hard and play good defense when I am in there."
He played in 10 games off the bench through Sunday for an average of 3.3 minutes per contest with two total points. Earlier this season, Reybold got to play in front of family and friends when UNC-Wilmington had games at George Washington and George Mason. The Seahawks, who are 9-8 overall and 3-3 in the CAA, return to the region on Feb. 12 when they play at Towson. Reybold, who played one minute Saturday at JMU, is one of several players with ties to Laurel now at the college level.
Laurel High graduates with college basketball teams this season include Will Alston, who is with Division II Valdosta State in Georgia, Brittney Davis with Division II Bowie State and freshman Marche Pearson with Division III St. Mary's of southern Maryland. Alston transferred this season to Valdosta State after two seasons on the team at Jacksonville, a Division I school in Florida. He started 11 of the first 17 games and was averaging 11.1 points per game, fourth for a team that was 14-3 in Georgia. His first college game with JU came at the Verizon Center in Washington against Georgetown.
Davis, a senior guard, is in her fourth year with the Bulldogs just down Laurel-Bowie Road from her hometown. She started the first 11 games this season and was second on the team at 10.1 points per outing. A 5-foot-9 guard/forward, Pearson had played in 12 games off the bench as of Sunday and was averaging 7.9 minutes per contest. In addition, Laurel High product Justin Redfield is a senior guard for the men's team at Division III Frostburg State in western Maryland. In addition, former Laurel High boys coach Keith Coutreyer is now an assistant coach at Howard University.
St. Vincent Pallotti, a private school in Laurel, also has graduates on college teams. Laurel resident Leon Porter is a sophomore guard for Division II Dominican in New York state and Leslie Addy is with Bethany in West Virginia. Porter was the freshman of the year in the conference last season when he averaged more than 10 points per game. He started the first 16 games this season and was averaging 14.6 points per contest. Addy came off the bench in 14 of the first 15 games for Bethany.
Maya Pollock, also from Pallotti, played in three of the first 10 games for West Virginia Wesleyan. Laurel resident Ladi Odunlami, a graduate of Reservoir, is also on the men's team at Frostburg. Former Laurel resident Andrew Martinez, a former student at Meade High, is a sophomore guard for Washington Bible College in Lanham and former Pallotti standout Branden Washington and Laurel resident Jamie Newton, who went to Capital Christian Academy in Upper Marlboro, began this season on the roster at Division II Washington Adventist in Takoma Park. Both are among the top scorers for the team.