One of the unique characteristics of Cincinnati Christian University is the fact it sits on a hill approximately four miles from downtown.

Trevor Harrell looks forward to experiencing the scenery on an everyday basis.

“I like the small-campus feel. It was what I was looking for,” said Harrell, a 5-foot-10 guard who averaged 7.7 points and 3.3 assists for the Center Grove High School boys basketball team last season.

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“And if you get to a certain spot on campus, the view is unreal.”

Off in the distance to the southeast are Paul Brown Stadium (home of the Bengals) and Great American Ball Park (Reds); looking directly south, Harrell witnesses the magnificence of the Ohio River.

Harrell has signed to play for Cincinnati Christian, an NAIA Division II program that has advanced to the National Tournament twice in the past three seasons.

Founded in 1924, the four-year school has an enrollment of about 850 students per school year.

Harrell, who will major in sports management, begins classes Aug. 15.

He joins sophomores Blake Walsman (Batesville) and Jadon White (Hamilton Heights) and three other incoming freshmen as players from Indiana on the 2016-17 Cincinnati Christian men’s basketball roster.

Coach Kellen Zawadski’s squad last season finished 23-9. During the past three seasons Cincinnati Christian has posted a record of 65-35.

More important is the educational and social foundation a school like Cincinnati Christian offers students.

“Part of it is the Christian education and knowing he is seeking an environment like that,” said Craig Harrell, Trevor’s father. “And Cincinnati Christian’s coach is just fantastic. Just his demeanor.

“I’ve seen him coaching in games, and you can see the kids respect him.”

As well they should.

Zawadski is an accomplished NAIA alum in his own right, having produced 1,707 points — 15th all-time — at Huntington (Indiana) University from 2007-11.

His latest recruiting class also includes 6-1 shooting guard Khalil Williams (Indianapolis Herron) along with point guards Kyle Nicole (Westfield) and Josiah Oetjen (Indianapolis Homeschool).

If Harrell has an advantage in terms of possible playing time, it’s the experience he gained playing high school basketball in Indiana’s elite conference (Metropolitan Interscholastic).

“At Center Grove we had one of the toughest schedules in Indiana. We never had a day off,” said Harrell, who led the Trojans in steals (1.3) as a senior. “I think it really prepared me well for the next level of basketball.”

Harrell’s best games points-wise from last season were the 20 he scored in a victory against Bloomington North and 14 in a regular-season loss to Whiteland. He produced 13 points on three different occasions.

He said he thinks playing for a second consecutive young head coach — Zawadski and Trojans mentor Zach Hahn are both in their late 20s — is another appealing aspect of Cincinnati Christian.

“It wasn’t that long ago (Zawadski) he was playing at this level,” Harrell said. “He knows what we’re dealing with and just knows what it takes to succeed at that level with school and with basketball.”

Cincinnati Christian brings back 5-9 senior point guard Khari Burton, though Zawadski said he thinks Harrell is more than capable of getting minutes as a freshman.

The coach said Oetjen is being redshirted this season.

“What Trevor brings is his knowledge of the game and the ability to hit shots. He has the potential to get hot,” Zawadski said. “(Burton) averaged 32 minutes a game for us last season, but in Trevor you couldn’t find a better kid. Just an outstanding young man.”

One who can’t wait to be part of the hill.

Trevor Harrell pullout


Name: Trevor Harrell

Age: 18

Born: Indianapolis

Family: Parents, Craig and Jada; sister, Alex, 22

Favorite TV show: “The Blacklist”

Favorite food: Macaroni and cheese

Favorite movie: “The Blind Side”

Favorite athlete: Stephen Curry

Favorite team: Indiana University men’s basketball

Author photo
Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at