Jan. 27, 2012
Jake Reinders learning a lesson on hard work
By David Boyce
In his first three years at Northwest Missouri State, Jake Reinders entered this portion of the season wanting to do his part to help the Bearcats reach the MIAA Tournament.
The Bearcats fell just short of reaching Kansas City each time. Sure, it was disappointing to Reinders. But he always had another season.
Now a senior, Reinders, a 6-foot-9 starting forward for the first-place Bearcats, is reaping the rewards of all the hard work he put in. He is averaging 10 points and 6 rebounds per game.
“His effort is by far is his greatest strength,” Northwest coach Ben McCollum said. “I like his relentless rebounding attitude, but the main thing he brings is the intangible side of it. He works hard.
“It’s harder for a guy like Jake Reinders who has lost for three years to be able to continue to buy into the work ethic and a defensive mindset that we try to instill.”
Actually, it is a great testament to his attitude that rewards are not immediate despite hard work.
Reinders, Kyle Haake and Jake Peterson played their first season for Steve Tappmeyer. They went through a coaching change and had to deal with some less than mediocre seasons for a program that had been at the top of the MIAA. They never lost faith.
“It has been a fun ride, an interesting ride,” Reinders said. “I cannot imagine a different way to end. We just have to finish strong.
“I have matured so much since my freshmen year. This is by far the best decision I have made to come here. It has prepared me better as a basketball player and even more as a person.”
Every game, every moment, Reinders is going to savor. He plans to get his degree in marketing in July and then enter the work force.
“I’ve got to enjoy every second I’m here,” he said.
Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. will be one of those lasting moments. Northwest, 15-3 overall and 9-3 and tied for first with Central Missouri, takes on Fort Hays, 13-4 and 7-4, at Bearcat Arena. The game will be televised on MIAA TV.
“You don’t really think about television during the game,” McCollum said.” I am more excited to see fan support and a crowd who are into it and rowdy.
“We have guys who have given their heart to this program and university and represented it very well. I’d like to see some of the students come out and be engaged in the atmosphere and show everybody who is watching the game on television what Northwest Missouri is all about.”
It is about players like Reinders who do not quit just because they are not starting their freshman season. They do not quit just because the team didn’t win as many games as they wanted.
They just keep working hard and at the end, there is the possibility of success on the court and a college degree.
“I have played since my freshmen year,” Reinders said. “It has been limited, but just getting that taste and also seeing teams in the past have success keeps you motivated. Home games are amazing. You keep working hard and the fruits of your labor are going to show.”
They are definitely showing for Reinders and his senior classmates who have invested plenty of sweat and some heartache for Northwest.
“We have a pride in the program, a pride for the town and the community and college,” Reinders said. “We love to see other freshmen come in and build that up and follow in your footsteps and do the right thing. You take a lot of pride in them doing that because they care more for the program. I am not saying juco players don’t care.
“But you really have a place in your heart for the program because you have been here that long. I think that is huge coming in with any player. You will just have that love for the game even more.”
Northwest has nice mix of players that truly play well together on the court. You could see the chemistry the first game of the season and it has only gotten stronger.
Reinders said he is able to tell a team has a strong team bond if they are working hard in practice, buy into the coach’s philosophy and having fun. Teammates must cheer each other on and not worrying about who is scoring points.
Reinders sees all of it in the 2011-12 Bearcats.
“We are in this together,” he said.
The best example is how quickly Northwest bounces back from a loss. The Bearcats have yet to lose two games in a row. They have won their last two road games, beating Emporia State and Washburn.
“We are a smart team,” Reinders said. “We learn from our mistakes. We learn from our losses. I think it gets inside our skin. When we lose, it is something we did and not what the other team did. We try to correct those mistakes. Hopefully, we won’t have a slip up again in order to have a great game the next game.”
The Bearcats want to put on a good performance Saturday for the viewing audience on MIAA TV.
“Playing on television is going to be fun because you get to play in front of family and friends who can’t make it to the game. It is going to be a real fun week,” Reinders said.
In reality, it has been a fun four seasons for Reinders.
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