June 10, 2013 by Max Meyer
By Max Meyer
Galen Central will be doing a summer series profiling USC’s incoming basketball class, including transfers who will sit out this upcoming season. Next up is Katin Reinhardt, a transfer from UNLV who will be eligible beginning in the 2014-2015 season. Read the first profile, on Julian Jacobs, HERE.
Katin Reinhardt has been playing basketball since he was two years old. He has been playing in competitive leagues since he was six. His nickname, “The White Mamba” was created by a teammate after his 64-point performance in his sophomore year at Mater Dei High School. He has been around the game his entire life, and sitting out this upcoming basketball season due to his transfer from UNLV to USC will be tough for him.
“Being a competitor, [sitting out] is going to kill me,” Reinhardt said. “I cannot even go walk in a gym without wanting to play pick-up.”
While Reinhardt is known for his confidence and swagger on the court, his competitiveness is the one trait that shines above the rest. He attributes that to his family, whether it be when his dad would not let him win during their one-on-one basketball games when Katin was young, or the fact that his three brothers all play competitive sports as well.
Basketball was always Katin’s passion. Reinhardt, the former Mater Dei high school sensation who averaged over 18 points his senior season, is coming back home to California after a one-year layover at UNLV. He was originally going to be a Trojan, but de-committed and decided to take his talents to Las Vegas.
“I felt like I made a decision too quickly on where I wanted to go. I wanted to de-commit just to look at my options and look at my recruiting process as a whole,” Reinhardt stated. “When I chose UNLV, I chose that school because I felt like I could play the way I play in that system.”
He averaged over 10 points a game in his freshman season at UNLV, and the Runnin’ Rebels even made an NCAA tournament appearance. Yet Reinhardt’s time at UNLV didn’t live up to his expectation, and, after the season was over, he announced he was going to transfer from the school.
“People say that I had a lot of shot opportunities, but in reality eight shots a game is not a lot. I know they say it is a lot for a freshman, but if you look at it, eight shots a game for playing 30 minutes is not a lot of shots,” Reinhardt explained. “I credit the UNLV coaches because they gave me trust and freedom to play basketball, and I thank them for that opportunity. But it was not the right system for me to thrive in as a basketball player.”
Do not be mistaken though, Reinhardt sees himself as a lot more than just a scorer. Reinhardt watched a lot of film on Florida Gulf Coast University and Coach Andy Enfield’s offensive scheme, and immediately saw a system that would highlight his playmaking capabilities.
“[Enfield] told me that he wants me to be a huge piece of this team. He wants me to be a guy who can make plays on and off the ball, who can score, who can pass, basically do what I did in high school in college,” Reinhardt said. “That was huge because I wasn’t able to do that at UNLV. His system allows me to play the way I play basketball and just have fun doing it.”
It is easy to tell that Reinhardt is a huge believer in Enfield and his schemes because he is willing to sit out a year to play for him. However, Reinhardt is presented an opportunity he has never had before: a whole year not to worry about competitive games, but to work on and improve his own game.
When the 2014-15 basketball season rolls around, and Reinhardt is eligible to play, he is expecting his game to be a perfect match for Enfield’s system. He may even get to play on the same team again with Stanley Johnson in 2014, a USC target who is Reinhardt’s close friend and former Mater Dei teammate. However, the spotlight will be on Reinhardt as the anticipation increases in Los Angeles for him to play in a USC jersey.
Reinhardt’s 2.5 assists per game last season for UNLV does not tell the entire story of how he loves to set up his teammates for success. He is one of those guys who is going to do whatever it takes for his team to win. His improvement on defense during his freshman season only highlights that fact even more. Reinhardt compares his game to NBA star Deron Williams, mostly because Williams played a combo-guard role at Illinois and he’s a strong shooter and playmaker.
One of the more impressive statistics that Reinhardt holds is the off the court–he has almost 13,000 Twitter followers. Even though Reinhardt had to shut down his account, @katinreinhardt1, for a couple of days due to negative comments on Twitter following his decision to transfer, he still values a strong social media presence. Reinhardt is using those negative tweets as a tool, motivation to improve his game even more. Additionally, one of his favorite NBA players, Kevin Durant, is among his many followers.
Reinhardt has a long year ahead of him, but for him, the wait will be more than worth it. And do not think that Reinhardt has not already brought some of his patented confidence with him to USC.
“I am really excited to come here, I am happy to be back home. I am ready to bring USC back to being a big-time basketball program,” Reinhardt exclaimed. “A lot of people know USC for football, I want to help change it to a football and basketball school.”