As a hockey player, Chad Posthumus once banged opponents into the boards.
As a basketball player, he now simply bangs the boards.
A 6-foot-11, 265-pound Morehead State senior, Posthumus ranks second in the nation with 11.8 rebounds a game. He averages a double-double, adding 10.7 points a game as Morehead prepares for Wednesday's home date against first-place Belmont.
Growing up in Canada, though, his first sports love was on ice.
Posthumus said he took up hockey almost from the time he could skate, at 3. His hero was Mario Lemieux.
A left defenseman with a wicked slapshot, Posthumus didn't give up the sport until he was 16.
He started playing basketball for a provincial team — similar to AAU ball in the U.S. — year-round as a high school freshman, when he stood 6-7.
Growing an inch each year in high school, he began to hear from colleges when he was a 6-9 junior.
Now 22, he's a relative novice compared to most of his competition.
"I don't think I've reached nearly my potential yet," Posthumus said. "I've only been playing serious for about eight, nine years ... so there's room for improvement and more potential to be found."
At River East High School in Winnipeg, Posthumus averaged 39 points, 25 rebounds and seven blocks as a senior. He scored 69 points in one game. He also played on the school's soccer, hockey and football teams.
He then spent one season at the University of British Columbia, averaging 1.7 points and 2.8 rebounds.
After sitting out a season due to a shoulder injury, Posthumus averaged 4.0 points and 3.2 rebounds for Howard (junior) College in Texas.
Despite the modest numbers, Morehead Coach Sean Woods liked what he saw. And he likes what he's seen since.
"He adapts," Woods said. "It takes him a while. Nothing comes natural to him from a scoring standpoint. The only thing that comes natural is he can go get the basketball. Everything else, he's getting taught. This is the first time he's really been coached.
"You take a raw kid that's really never been coached, you can imagine what it's like. In the year-and-a-half that we've had him, he's comes a long, long way. That's a credit to him."
A "type one" diabetic since he was 7, Posthumus says "I have it very well under control." Frequent drinks of Gatorade help him keep his blood sugar at the proper level, he says.
On the court, he says there is plenty to learn.
"I've got to be more patient on offense. Sometimes I rush a little bit, which throws my shot off, doesn't allow me to make a good move," he said. "I've got to slow down with that. And getting my foot speed up for defense a little bit. Sometimes I have trouble guarding smaller men."
One thing he's already learned, though, is how to rebound.
"I've always had a knack for rebounding," he said. "I have good timing and just a sixth sense to go after the ball. It's just working hard for it, too. ... I try to win every battle and get those rebounds."
He is, literally, a big reason why Morehead has been outrebounded only once all season. The Eagles lead the Ohio Valley Conference in rebounds (39.6 a game), offensive rebounds (15.2) and rebounding margin (7.9).
"He's got great size. He's a brute. He's strong as an ox. It's hard to keep him off the block," Woods said. "It's hard to keep him away from the ball. He just goes and gets it. I think rebounding is more mental toughness than anything else, and he just has that."
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @markmaloneyhl. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.