2016-12-16 / Sports
Grebeta is the patient young grasshopper
BOYS’ BASKETBALL /// Simi Valley Pioneers Senior waited for his turn to star for Simi Valley boys’ basketball team
He knew his time would come.
The senior small forward for the Simi Valley High boys’ basketball team, a third-year varsity player, went off like a scoring time bomb as soon as his playing time increased.
The 18-year-old erupted for 41 points, easily a career-high, in the Pioneers’ 77-48 win against Shalhevet on Nov. 26 in the West Valley Tournament.
“It felt like everything was just flowing,” Grebeta said of that special November day. “I was playing well and my teammates were playing well. I was able to get open shots from them moving the ball. It felt good.”
Grebeta looks back now and realizes the long road into the starting lineup set the foundation for his breakout senior season.
Simi Valley head coach Ryan Bradshaw said he’s glad the senior remained dedicated to the team while the youngster was riding the pine.
“He never complained,” the coach said of Grebeta. “He never had a chip on his shoulder. He worked hard this offseason. He realizes it’s his time now. He’s really taking advantage of that.”
Grebeta is thriving in the starting lineup, just as teammate Justin Campbell, a sophomore center, anticipated.
“That’s exactly what I expect from him,” Campbell said, “get the ball in the hoop and be aggressive towards the rack. I expect him to at least average a double-double. He can probably have 10 rebounds and 20 points a game.”
“We obviously want a lot of shots going through him if he’s shooting the ball like that,” Bradshaw said.
While Grebeta, who is 6-foot- 2, 180 pounds, is enjoying his success, he’s still learning how to remain consistent game to game.
He struggled during one tournament game, shooting 3 of 16 from the field.
The coach made sure Grebeta didn’t let the off night rattle him. After all, scoring is only half the game.
“There’s going to be nights like that,” Bradshaw said. “Every night, you’re not going to score 41. If you’re going 3-16, what else are you doing for us? Are you rebounding, setting good screens and defending?”
He’s stepped into a leadership role as one of four seniors on the roster. Kyle Fisher, Bryant Farmer and Jacob Smalling are senior guards. Grebeta also has the confidence to take big shots in crunch time. He gets along with teammates and shows the youngsters the ropes.
Grebeta made Campbell feel right at home early last season.
“When I came in to do the big man camp, he was the first one to talk to me,” Campbell said.
“We’ve been best friends ever since.”
Grebeta’s most comfortable on the court. He started playing basketball in first grade. He plans on continuing his career at Moorpark College, where he wants to study kinesiology to become a physical therapist or an athletic trainer for a college team.
Grebeta said he hopes the Pioneers (5-4 overall) can compete against the tough teams in the Coastal Canyon League, including Oak Park, Camarillo and Royal.
Bradshaw expects Grebeta to keep pouring in buckets while making his presence felt on the glass and on defense.
“We want him to have the mentality that every shot is a pass to him,” Bradshaw said. “He’s strong and he jumps well. He’s not there yet, but he has the ability to do some offensive and defensive rebounding.
“There’s a lot more than just scoring that he can bring.”
Email Jonathan Andrade at email@example.com.