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Grady Eifert's focus on basketball paying dividends for Bishop Dwenger

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Bishop Dwenger (17-8) vs. Bowman Academy (21-4) at Huntington North, approximately 6:15 p.m., Saturday.

Winner will play either Guerin Catholic (22-3) or Greensburg (26-1) in Class 3A State Championship

Senior receives support from brother Tyler after hanging up football helmet

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 12:01 am

When your older brother is one of the top tight ends in the country and bound for the NFL, it can be tough to decide to step away from football.

That is the situation Bishop Dwenger senior Grady Eifert found himself in a few years ago. While a solid football player, he felt his future was in basketball and wanted to focus solely on that.

So while brother Tyler Eifert was breaking records at Notre Dame before being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, Grady Eifert was ditching the football helmet for good.

The decision has turned out well for both Grady Eifert and the Bishop Dwenger basketball program. For the second straight season, Eifert leads the Saints in scoring and has also emerged as a key leader.

Coach Matt Kostoff's program has reaped the rewards of Eifert going purely with hoops. Bishop Dwenger (17-8) is preparing for its first semistate game since 1996 on Saturday at Huntington North against Bowman Academy. Tipoff is scheduled for about 6:15 p.m.

“At Bishop Dwenger, we play team ball and are all on the same page,” Eifert said. “My scoring … it is an accomplishment, but I just look at the wins.

“I'm just trying to be on the floor every day in practice showing a good example.”

Brother Tyler Eifert has found time to take in Bishop Dwenger's postseason run. He plans to be at the game Saturday.

For Tyler Eifert, it has been exciting to watch his brother excel in the sport he played for four years in high school and father Greg played at Purdue.

“He stopped playing football and set his mind on basketball,” Tyler Eifert said. “At first it was a little weird, because in high school you kind of play all the sports … but he had his mind set on getting better at basketball.

“There is nothing wrong with it.”

Tyler Eifert has not hesitated to give his brother some pointers when it comes to basketball. Not surprisingly, the tight end's advice typically centers on physicality.

“He just tells me to be aggressive, to not be afraid of anything,” Grady Eifert said.

Tyler Eifert echoes that sentiment.

“Sometimes you got to get in there and mix it up,” Tyler Eifert said.

While there is brotherly bond between Grady and Tyler, there also is the requisite brotherly rivalry. Despite Grady's skills on the basketball court, Tyler is not about to say his brother is the better of the two on the hardwood.

“We played one-on-one the other day (and) I won,” Tyler Eifert said with a laugh. “He is not getting the (honor of being the best between the two) until he beats me. I'll admit it when he does.

“He needs to put on some pounds first.”

Bishop Dwenger is just fine with Grady Eifert's physique as is, and what he means to the Saints.