Once Windham High senior Kelsey Schiebel decided she wanted to play college basketball, there was nothing stopping her from that goal. She has worked very hard, especially over the past year to become a better player. And now Schiebel has committed to Suffolk University, where she will attend school and compete to become the team's new starting point guard.
"My junior year spring AAU season was when it really all started to become real to me" Schiebel told the NH Notebook. "My freshman year of high school I started to play for the Bay State Blizzards under Kevin Barboza and that's when I really decided I wanted to play in college. Over the last four years training with Kevin and playing for him has totally changed me as a player. I worked out with him 2 to 3 times a week this summer and I think he's the one that really got me to that next level."
Suffolk competes in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) in Division III. This past season they went 23-8 (10-2 in conference play), and advanced to the conference title game before falling to GNAC power Emmanuel. Suffolk is located in the heart of Boston.
"Suffolk was the first school to ever contact me throughout my entire process, which happened in my junior year" said Schiebel. "Coach Leyden reached out to me and expressed his interested and it really made me excited that someone thought I was capable of playing in college. Besides Suffolk, Endicott was another one of my top schools that I talked to and it really came down to the two of them. Over the last few months I had narrowed it down to Suffolk, Endicott, Roger Williams, and Keene State. Every coach definitely expressed their interests which was exciting. Overall, Suffolk won me over with it's location, the girls on the team, and Coach Leyden himself. I just got an awesome vibe every time I went to visit and nothing beats being in downtown Boston."
As Schiebel's recruitment picked up, it motivated her to work even harder. She doubled her scoring from her junior to senior year, going from 7 points per game to 14. Schiebel made second team all-state, had a 30 point game vs. Oyster River and averaged 4 assists per game.
"I think all the hard work I put in over the spring and summer really paid off for me in every aspect" said Schiebel, who hopes to take over as Suffolk's starting point guard with the graduation of Jacqueline Vienneau (Salem, NH). "The player and person I was last year compared to who I am now is completely different. I am really proud of myself for gaining a lot of confidence in my game and taking myself to the next level. All I have on my mind right now is my first college game in a Suffolk University uniform! That's crazy to me. And that's all that will be on my mind until that day comes, so until then I am just going to keep focusing on working hard and getting better."
Schiebel only stands 5-foot-2, so she has defied the odds to reach the next level. he shortest player on Suffolk's roster this past season was 5-foot-6. Still, she has not let her height stand in her way. Schiebel has a very positive attitude and has used it as a motivator.
"I think everyone's always said I've been too short to play basketball" Schiebel explained. "However, I decided when I started to hear people question my ability due to my height that I would just try to become great at the things I could control. I really worked on my ball handling and my shooting this summer. I had 47 three-pointers this year and I think my shot is something great about my game. I also think that being quick and speedy is something that most taller girls can't guard when it comes to me as a player. I also take a lot of pride in playing great up-in-your-grill defense. Everyone I play is taller then me, but I don't see that as a downside I just take it as a challenge to bring my A game in all the aspects of my game I can control.
I guess you could say Schiebel plays Suffolk-ating defense (see what I did there?). Simply put, she is a winner, and has done plenty of winning as a high school player. Windham High has only had a varsity program in girls basketball for 3 years. But in those 3 seasons they went to the quarterfinals, and then the semi-finals each of the past 2 years. Schiebel was the starting point guard for the Jaguars all 3 years.
"I love my Windham High School team" Schiebel concluded. "Most of us like BD, Clariee, my sister Amanda, Brianna, Sarah, and last years Kerry and Ashley have all been playing with each other since 4th grade. We really understand each other on the court and really bought into coach Joe's philosophy to 'Play As One.' Everyone on the team plays for the name on the front, not on the back. I think we have been so successful because it wasn't like anyone had us predicted to win much over the last few years, we've always been underestimated and seen as underdogs. Even when Kerry and Ashley left this year people thought the fact we didn't have much height would hinder us, but BD really stepped up and took on a huge role and we made it to the Final Four again! I think we all really knew our roles on the team and everyone on the team had the same goal the whole season long. It was awesome to be able to be part of program like that for the last 3 years."
With her positive attitude, quickness, shooting ability and work ethic, it is easy to see what all of the hype is about. Don't let her height fool you, Suffolk is getting a good one.