by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
When Rogers’ 6-foot-8, 230-pound basketball star Michael Schreiber decided to add football his senior year, the hoops coach didn’t cringe.
In fact, Joe Belka was a big fan of the Royals’ new towering tight end who helped the gridders post a 9-2 record. And he anticipated Schreiber being an even more forceful presence in the lanes this winter.
“I think football helped Michael,” said Belka. “He is catching the ball better, and he’s tougher and more aggressive in the post.”
Football is not the only reason, but Schreiber has indeed “taken his whole game to another level” over a solid junior season, in Belka’s assessment.
The Northern State recruit has scored 28, 24, 22, and 26 points in the first four games. He’s averaging 25 points and 11 rebounds, and shooting 75 percent from the floor, dangerous with either hand.
As a junior, he made all-conference, averaging 11.9 points and 6.9 rebounds, hitting a school record 59 percent of his shots.
Schreiber had not played football since eighth grade. “This is my last year, and I wanted to go and play with my friends, and win some games,” he said. “It was a fun time. In basketball, you have to be physical in the post, and I thought it was good experience, having to block guys who are shorter, but stronger.”
On a team that didn’t throw much, Schreiber caught six passes for 107 yards, adept at catching the ball and motoring for yards-after-catch. It was a new thrill: “You’re so happy, out there, catching the ball and seeing some room upfield.”
Schreiber was “a force to reckon with,” said his position coach, Benjamin Brent. “Not too many opponents were used to having a determined, inteligent, athletic, and enormous tight end cave them down the line of scrimmage like he would. Also he was a heck of a target dragging across the middle of the field, with great hands.”
Steady weight-liftiing contributed to the big jump Schrieber has made from his junior to senior year. He also credits AAU hoops with the Minnesota Fury as Ben Davis, sharpened his post skills and his mindset.
“Michael had a terrific off-season,” said Belka.
Schreiber is the first Royal cager to get a college scholarship. Northern State coach Paul Sather commented, “Michael will bring size and toughness to our front court. He loves to play with contact, and be a physical presence on the block. He can finish with either hand.”
Regarding his senior season, Schreiber reflects: “I know my teammates can get me the ball, and I know I am strong and confident enough to finish.”
It’s a mostly senior team but Schreiber, who moved on ahead in 10th grade, hasn’t played with his classmates (except Josh Turnquist) since junior high. \
“Growing up, I always played with these guys. I know them all and I love every one. They are very good players, and we are melding together. We have set high goals.”
Football afforded Schreiber the opportunity to earn his first conference and section championships. His aim this winter is more of the same.
Their next game is non-conference but is a major event on the schedule: the River Battle against Elk River on Saturday at home.Last year, Schreiber led a 58-56 win with 20 points, 10 rebounds and the game-winning putback as Rogers beat the Elks for the first time.
“This game is huge,” Schrieber said. “One of our main goals for this season is to keep that trophy.”
THE SCHREIBER SCORECARD
Personal file – Age: 18 … Family: parents Kevin and Janet; brothePersonal file – Age: 18 … Family: parents Mary and David; twin sisters Laura and Mikayla, 15 … Sports: football, basketball … Other activities: Royal Connections (mentoring) … Academics: 3.5 GPA … College plans: Northern State, basketball, computer science
Favorite stuff – Class: math … TV show: “Whose Line is it Anyway?” … Movie: “Oceans 11” … Music: heavy metal … Teams: Gophers, Badgers basketball … Athlete: John Leuer … Food: beef roast … Drink: Gatorade orange … Kickbacks: “Golfing, being outs