With numerous friends, family members and former coaches in attendance at the BCHS library, Brooke Copeland confirmed her commitment to play in the Southeastern Conference for the University of Florida, while Rebecca Reuter is heading to Conference-USA and Middle Tennessee State University.
The two 6-foot-2 standouts bring the number of Bearette college signees to 10 in the past three years, but they are the first two to ink with Division I programs.
“This is a celebration of the hard work and dedication these girls have put in over the last several years,” proclaimed Bradley head coach Jason Reuter. “The Lord gave them the height and athletic ability and they have spent many hours in the weight room, gyms and traveled many miles in playing AAU to develop what He blessed them with.
“Nothing in life comes easy,” he added. “This is the accumulation of years of extremely hard work by these girls and the many people who have helped them along the way. They say ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ and you can tell that’s true by the outpouring and support these girls have received.”
The two best friends both expressed their excitement at having made their decisions and getting ready for their final high school seasons.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be able to get this opportunity,” declared Copeland. “I made my official visit and everything about Florida was just perfect. I really felt like it is the right place for me.”
“I’m very excited about going to Middle Tennessee. I’m really happy with my decision. It’s a perfect fit for me,” remarked Rebecca Reuter. “I went for my official visit three weeks ago and had a really great time, and got to meet the girls and watch the team practice.”
Happy to have the recruiting stress behind them, the pair both are looking forward to their final high school seasons.
“With this done and now we can concentrate on what we need to do to finish what we’ve started here,” exclaimed Copeland. “We’re not going to rest on what we’ve already done. We came here with a purpose and now that we want to finish it.”
“With this decision behind us, we can focus on Bearette basketball now,” added Reuter.
“I couldn’t have had a better high school experience than to play with Rebecca and for coach Reuter. He’s an amazing coach. I wouldn’t be where I am without them,” Copeland commented.
“I’m so proud of both them,” coach Reuter declared. “I’m proud as a coach and a father. Becca and Brooke, who is like a daughter to me, are great representatives of Bradley Central. They are both outstanding students academically, involved in clubs and church activities.”
“They are fine young ladies who represent our school well,” chimed in BCHS Principal Todd Shoemaker. “These girls and the other seven that have signed and are playing college ball now show the strength of our athletic program. The are a big part of the Bearette success.”
An all-state performer in both basketball and volleyball, Copeland turned down more than 30 other collegiate offers, including SEC offers from Vanderbilt, Alabama, Kentucky, Auburn and Ole Miss, to sign with the Gators.
In her first three years in the starting lineup for the storied Bradley program, Copeland netted 1,569 points, placing her 13th on the all-time Bearette list. This past season she averaged a double-double with 19.6 points and 10.1 rebounds an outing, plus she blocked 58 shots and copped 53 steals to earn the District 5-AAA Player of the Year.
Ranked as the No. 10 post player in the nation (2014 class) by ESPN, Copeland also played for the Tennessee Nike Flight team out of Murfreesboro, which won its second consecutive national AAU championship this past summer.
Also averaging a double-double last season with 11 points and 10 rebounds an outing, Reuter weighed her collegiate options and narrowed her numerous offers — including a dozen from Division I schools — down to MTSU, Western Carolina, Appalachian State, Furman and Lee before choosing to become a Blue Raider.
Also a standout for the volleyball Bearettes for the past four seasons, Reuter said she feels concentrating on just one sport will help her develop her game even more. “I enjoy volleyball, but for college I wanted to play just one sport.
“Coach (Rick) Insell is a great coach and it is a first-class program all the way,” she added. “MTSU is a Top 35 program in the nation and only getting better.”
While being key four-year players for the Black-and-Gold, the pair have helped Bradley post an 89-11 record, winning three straight Region 3-AAA championships, plus earning a berth in the TSSAA State Championship Tournament last March.
The new season got off to a strong start earlier this week, with a 54-25 victory over Cookeville in a Hall of Fame game. The pair will get a strong test Tuesday when two-time defending champion Riverdale brings a 59-game winning streak into Jim Smiddy Arena.