Words of advice from several NCAA Division I coaches have motivated Jasper Reinalda to put in the work necessary to play at college basketball’s highest level.
A standout senior at Corvallis High School, the 7-foot-3 Reinalda has received interest and scholarship offers from Division I and NAIA schools and junior colleges. That interest has included Pac-12 and Big West institutions.
Coaches have told the young man that another year of preparation before college, as allowed by the NCAA, would go a long way in helping him fit in. That’s led Reinalda to decide that he’ll attend the Donar academy in Groningen, Netherlands, where his father Johan, a former Oregon State basketball player, grew up. The academy is organized and operated by one of the top professional teams in the country.
“I think that is a big, driving factor because they told me that I should take this year,” Reinalda said of his decision. “So I will be focusing and doing the best I can at all of my training and basketball opportunities because I know how valuable this year can be. But only if I take advantage of the opportunities presented to me and work as hard as I possibly can.”
That drive has been pushing him for more than two years, since he split time between the Spartans’ varsity and junior varsity teams as a sophomore. He’s worked out almost daily ever since.
His progress has shown in his results and recognition.
Reinalda averaged about 16 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks this past season as he was named to the all-Mid-Willamette Conference first team for the second straight year. Corvallis was 9-7 in conference, good for fourth place, before running into one of the state’s top 5A teams in Wilsonville in the state playoffs. The Spartans finished 14-11 overall.
By his own description skinny and uncoordinated as a younger player, Reinalda has worked extensively on core strength, having better body control and putting on muscle to reach his current weight of roughly 265 pounds.
“I feel like these last two years I’ve really matured and grown into my body quite a bit,” he said. “So I’m moving a lot better than I used to. I feel like my athleticism has come along quite a bit as well as my knowledge of the game.”
Reinalda spent the past two springs and summers playing for the Portland-based Team Fly club. His love of the game and finding his most enjoyment on the playing floor have him missing it right now.
One of Reinalda’s hobbies away from the floor is playing the saxophone, which he does with the CHS band during varsity girls basketball games on nights when the girls played after the boys in the same gym. He also joined the band at the 5A state tournament.
Reinalda has played the saxophone since the fourth grade and enjoys the culture that the band creates. Some of his best friends are in the band, a group he says is supportive.
“Whenever I’m playing and I come out of the game, I’ll look up into the stands and all my band friends are cheering me on. It’s a lot of fun,” he said.
Spending more time at home away from friends now with the schools closed due to the coronavirus, Reinalda has turned to individual training in his push to improve.
He lifts weights in the family garage, bikes and runs, jumps rope to work on foot quickness and does ball-handling drills in the driveway.
“I’m continually impressed with his motivation. I’ve been really amazed at his focus,” his father said.
Johan Reinalda, who works in information services at Oregon State, was his son’s youth coach when the family lived in Arizona. He has been joined by former OSU women’s basketball coach Aki Hill in helping Jasper develop and polish his skills.
Hill has experience working with post players. She helped mold Jefferson High alum Carol Menken into an All-American for the Beavers in the late 1970s.
With Reinalda, she’s broken down the fundamental movements for players under the basket, including proper footwork, body position, how to jump and land and where to position his hands on a hook shot.
The two are separated by nearly two feet in height, the elder Reinalda points out, but he notes: “Those two have this special relationship going on that’s wonderful to see. Aki is such a fundamental coach and so focused on details that she doesn’t let him get away with anything.”
Jasper Reinalda credits his father and Hill for the progress he’s made. But Johan jokes that during the workouts he’s reduced to ball boy or “a defensive body to beat up.”
At 17 years old, Jasper Reinalda is young for his senior class. Playing with the under-21 team at Donar will allow him to make a transition into competing against older players before doing the same in the college game.
At the academy, there is a focus on fundamentals and position-specific coaching, which Johan Reinalda says is “not super well done” in the United States. Jasper will also have the chance to play regularly against players closer in height, which hasn’t been the case to this point in his playing career.
Reinalda was 6-7 in seventh grade when his family moved to Corvallis from Arizona. He grew to 6-10 a year later and hit 7 feet entering his freshman season before growing about an inch the next three years.
“He’ll have a great opportunity to grow into his body more, get stronger, get better 1-on-1 coaching,” his dad said.
Reinalda’s cousin Rienk Mast, now a redshirt freshman on the basketball team at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, attended Donar during his high school years. He had a positive review of the academy.
“He liked that they have a lot of skill-focused development and position-specific work,” Reinalda said. “They really focus on training the younger kids and getting the best out of them that they possibly can.”
Mast, who didn’t want to gamble with potential travel restrictions in the time leading up to summer workouts at Bradley, decided not to travel home to Netherlands after the coronavirus shutdown. He’s now staying in Corvallis with the Reinalda family, which also includes mom Wendy and Jasper’s older sister Bianca, an Oregon State sophomore studying physical therapy.
Reinalda, who speaks fluent Dutch, plans to head for Groningen sometime in August or September. There he will live with his aunt (Johan’s sister), uncle and cousins. His grandmother, Johan’s mother, lives there as well.
“I’m going to get to live with my cousins,” Reinalda said, “and I think that’s going to be a really great experience that I’m going to be able to talk about and have memories for with them the rest of my life.”
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