Friday, Jan. 9, 2009 | 12:10 a.m.
While most sophomore high school basketball players are just growing into their bodies, Brett Lubbe is adding to his.
Though he's regularly one of the younger players on the court, the Faith Lutheran forward is also one of the biggest and strongest. Not coincidentally, he is has also been the focus of the Crusaders' offense, leading the team with 16.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.
"Last year I was a little freshman, so I got pushed around a lot," Lubbe said. "I figured I had to get in the weight room. I've been trying to work out and bulk up. Now I think I have that advantage of being stronger than my opponent. There are a lot of tall, skinny guys, but you're not going to see a lot of big and bulky basketball players."
Standing 6 feet, 3 inches, Lubbe currently weighs about 215 pounds. A year ago, he said he weighed about 195 pounds but has added 20 pounds of "close to pure muscle."
Besides attending club basketball practices and training with the Faith Lutheran football team during the summer, Lubbe also lifted weights at the local YMCA four days a week during the offseason.
"At his height, you can't really shoot over people unless you have the strength to move them, and he does that," Faith Lutheran senior guard Chase Saunders said. "I think we all realize he's our best player, and I think he is a D-I player for sure."
Lubbe was a sixth man for Faith Lutheran as a freshman last season, contributing to its fourth consecutive 3A state championship. But when the team graduated its entire starting lineup, Lubbe's role increased as a sophomore.
Now, midway through the season, he is the focal point of opposing defenses. Teammates say Lubbe has handled the responsibility well.
"He's the guy to build our offense around," senior forward John Anger said. "His work in the post opens a lot more stuff for everyone else on the team. But he's modest and not too cocky. He seems older like he's just one of us, another senior."
Lubbe has welcomed the extra responsibility and tried to be a leader despite his sophomore status.
"It's kind of intimidating the first couple weeks of the season when you try to get the upperclassmen fired up and they're looking at you like, "Who are you?' But I think I've earned their respect," Lubbe said. "
Faith Lutheran coach Bret Walter said Lubbe is improving all the time, adding Lubbe has been counted on to rebound on both ends of the floor.
"Obviously he is built well, but what's important is he knows how to use his body to gain position," Walter said. "He is a smart player, and he's definitely worked hard to improve not only his skills but also his body."
Christopher Drexel can be reached at 990-8929 or email@example.com.