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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Joe Schneider finds fit at Air Force Academy

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  • He has played basketball since he was 4-years old, and his career will continue at the Air Force Academy next fall. Joe Schneider signed his letter of intent on Nov. 13 to play for the Division I school, becoming the second Lansing player to become a Division I player. “It’s a great opportunity both athletic-wise and with academics,” Schneider said. “I talked it over with my family and we thought that was the best decision.” Many other smaller schools came calling for the team’s 2012-13 leading scorer at 13 points per game, including several area Division II and lower Division I schools, but Schneider said Air Force was a perfect fit. “They run the Princeton style offense, so they want all five players on the court to be able to shoot the ball, which suits me well,” he said. Air Force is in the Mountain West conference, which includes schools that make regular NCAA Tournament appearances. “The facilities are top notch and it’s high competition,” Schneider said. While he said his family doesn’t have a big history in the military, he’s excited for the lifestyle. “I’m expecting more strict policies, but I feel like I’ll enjoy it a lot,” he said. Of course, basketball was the top reason for going to Air Force. “Just seeing the lifestyle of military, getting the discipline and education is always huge, but mainly basketball,” Schneider said. “That’s the biggest thing I’m looking forward to.” Schools like Fort Hays State and Missouri Western came on early on the recruiting trail, but Schneider said Air Force made him feel wanted the most. “They kind of came on late,” he said. “They saw me in the last tournament of the summer and they really kept in contact with me and they showed that they were really interested.” To go along with is 13 points per game last season, Schneider shot 54 percent from the field and scored double-digits in 18 of the 24 games. He also upped his defense a season ago, recording 31 steals. He said his AAU coaches and coach Rod Briggs helped him with his defensive intensity, but he loves his offensive game. “I pride myself in shooting and I can get my teammates involved as well,” Schneider said. Basketball wasn’t always his only sport. He had more than 1,000 total yards and 13 touchdowns his sophomore year as quarterback on the Lions’ football team, but a back injury forced him to miss more than half of the basketball season. So he decided to focus on just basketball starting his junior year. “I just didn’t want to risk missing more basketball because I hate watching,” he said. The basketball path has led to playoff success and a Division I scholarship. Schneider said he’s not sure what he wants to do after college, but he has an idea. “Hopefully after my years of service for the Air Force, I can be a basketball coach and coach at the highest level possible,” he said. “My AAU coaches and coach Briggs, especially, have taught me well. I think I can kind of feed off them if I ever go into coaching.”
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