FORT WAYNE – Bishop Dwengers Grady Eifert discovered a lot about himself last season. And the basketball team learned about the senior as well.
Eifert stood out as Dwenger played without Mike Fiacable, who had suffered a serious knee injury during football season.
It made him be kind of the go-to guy, Dwenger coach Matt Kostoff said. It made him more aggressive and look for his shot. We took our beatings last year, but I think he grew, and he was a totally different player from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
More is expected of Eifert this season, and he expects more of himself.
I want to help our team win, just be a team player thats what I want to be this year, Eifert said. Hopefully, we can make a big run and have a great year.
I am not a big vocal leader, but I like to (lead) with my actions. I like to show the guys the right thing to do with my hustle. The football guys, like Mike Fiacable, are the vocal ones and get on them at times.
Dwenger is 4-0 heading into this weeks SAC tournament after going 5-14 last year.
Last year, we were rebuilding with no seniors, Eifert said. It was a little different being a junior and then kind of trying to lead the guys. This year, with a lot of seniors back and the football guys back, it will be different.
Fiacable returned as the teams emotional leader, but when it comes to production the Saints turn to the 6-foot-5 Eifert, who is averaging 18.5 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.
He is a quiet kid anyway, but expectations are that he be more of a leader this year, Kostoff said of Eifert. Mike has always been the leader of this group, and he came back this year and had control from the first day of practice. Grady has gotten better at that. Kids today dont want to talk and get on their teammates, but theres a way to do it.
While also stepping out of the shadows on the court with the Saints, Eifert is also making a name for himself in a famous family.
Eiferts brother Tyler is a rookie tight end with the Cincinnati Bengals and his father, Greg, was an All-American basketball player at Purdue.
He works real hard because hes not the most gifted athlete, Kostoff said. Its hard when your brother is a professional football player and college All-American (at Notre Dame), but they are two different people.
Eifert said he has learned a lot from Tyler, who played basketball at Dwenger, and his father.
I am who I am, and thats what I like, Grady said. It motivates me if someone says something about it. Hes a great brother, and I wouldnt have it any other way.
They have both been great mentors. They are two guys I can really look up to and really help to make decisions (based on) what they have done. They have helped me a lot on basketball skills.
And there are still the games at the Eifert household.
We always joke around, Eifert said. Ty says he has a better shot than me still. We have some free-throw and three-point contests, but it is always a battle and my dad wins most of the time. Hes still got it.