Brody Peebles: Impacting Hartselle on and off the court
Story by Russell Frye
Photos by Jim Meadows
Brody Peebles will soon graduate from Hartselle High School, but he will continue to impact his school on the court and off before that day comes.
Peebles has been impacting Hartselle basketball for the past six years with his work ethic. He has spent countless hours, night after night, becoming one of the most decorated players in Hartselle High School history.
Peebles grew up playing multiple sports in Hartselle, but he decided in eighth grade that he wanted to focus on becoming a great basketball player. “I have always wanted to be a good basketball player,” said Peebles. “I saw some early success in junior high that gave me a hunger to become the best player I could be.”
The senior Tiger has been a part of one of the best four-year runs in Hartselle basketball history. He has helped the Tigers to multiple regular season and post-season area championships and trips to the sub-region, regional semifinals and regional finals.
The Tigers have won 86 games in his four years as a player. They have a chance to add to that total by the time this season comes to an end. Over those four years, he has averaged 24.6 points a game. He is one of two Hartselle players named first team All-State by the Alabama Sports Writers Association; the other, Jay Knowlton, was a member of the 1994 Tiger team that won a state championship.
By the time Peebles graduates, he will have become a two-time first team All-State player and will have scored more than 3,000 points in his career to become the leading scorer in Hartselle High history.
“Becoming the leading scorer in Hartselle High School history is something I am very grateful for,” said Peebles. “My teammates and coaches have put their trust in me to make shots, and I didn’t want to let them down.”
He said his brother Jaxon has been the most significant influence in his basketball career. “I got my competitiveness from my brother,” said Peebles. “I grew up watching him and his friends play. I wanted to not only play with them but also beat them. It took some time and growing up, but I was able to do it, finally.”
Peebles takes that competitiveness with him every night he steps on the court. “I want to play well and win games for Hartselle,” said Peebles. “When I step on the court, I can’t help but show my emotion in trying to win each possession and each moment.”
The most significant influence on life has been his parents, Dewayne and Nikki Peebles. “I have been fortunate to have parents that have supported me and loved me based on how I glorify God and treat people, rather than what I do on the basketball court,” said Peebles. “My goal in life is to make my parents proud of who I am as a person – not as a player.”
Dewayne has been by his son’s side since day one and, over the past several years, has seen firsthand what the hoops star has done to become the player he is today. “I do not know if I can express how proud I am of the person and man Brody has become,” Dewayne said. “I’m excited for what the future holds for him and where God will take him next.”
Peebles was highly recruited by numerous schools across the Southeast, including Belmont and Lipscomb in Nashville, Tenn. In the end, he has chosen to continue his career at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., playing for Coach Ritchie McKay.
“Liberty offered me more than just basketball,” said Peebles. “I will be able to grow in my Christian walk and influence while being able to play basketball. That is important to me.”
McKay saw Peebles play one game and offered him the same night. “Brody has me excited about the future of our basketball program,” said McKay. “He is one of those silent assassins; when he gets on the court and behind those lines, he is a dog competitor. He has a natural, intuitive ability in the game of basketball. Coach Key did a great job, and I think Brody has greatness ahead of him.”
“I know when I get to Liberty, Coach McKay’s interest in me goes beyond basketball,” added Peebles. “He wants me to succeed as a person and grow as a Christian, not just allow life to be about basketball.”
Peebles said he knows he can’t let up once he gets to Liberty. “I have to work every day on the little things to continue to get better.”
Peebles’ Hartselle teammates have a special place in his heart and in memories he will always carry with him as he continues his basketball career. “My teammates are what I get most emotional about when thinking about my time at Hartselle,” said Peebles. “They have entrusted me to lead them and have allowed me to become the player I am today.”
Peebles has had numerous supporters throughout the years, from his family, friends, teammates to the community at large, but the one person who stands out most is his high school coach, Faron Key.
“Coach Key noticed something in me as a scrawny seventh–grader,” said Peebles. “He put his faith and trust in me as a freshman and has taught me how to become not only a better player but, more importantly, a better man.”
Key said Peebles is clearly the best player to ever play at Hartselle. “The only thing that is missing from Brody’s legacy is a championship. Our job is to get him there and let him shine on the state’s biggest stage,” Key said. He also praised Peebles’ character, in addition to his skills on the court. “Brody’s heart for others really shines. He is the perfect kind of player to have. He is respected by his teammates as well as his school.”
Peebles said the community’s love for the Tiger basketball program and for him is humbling and something he will always carry with him. Nothing is more important than leaving behind a legacy for players who will follow in his footsteps.
“I want people to remember me for how I made them feel and about how I treated them,” said Peebles. “I want to use my platform to glorify Christ and to share the love of God.”