Prep Profile: Laurinburg Institute

When former Laurinburg player Billy Reid took the reigns after Chris Chaney left, he didn't have a lot of time to put a team together. However, he used his connections and has assembled an impressive array of talent.

Following is Chris Chaney's footsteps is an unenviable task, but Billy Reid is up to the challenge at Laurinburg.

Chaney led the team to a 40-0 mark a year ago and built the program into a national powerhouse over the last few years. Reid, a former player, is hoping to pick up where Chaney left off.

Reid didn't exactly have a lot of time since Chaney left and took virtually his entire team with him to Patterson School, but he's done a good job using his overseas and New York roots to put a more-than-competitive team together.

``It wasn't easy to put a team together this late," Reid said. "I had about a month and a half. But with my connections from being a college coach, that helped a lot."

``It's been really hard to recruit, especially without a home gym," he added. "We have to drive 20 minutes to practice every day and it gets tiresome. Every game is on the road."

``But we have really strong character along with talent," Reid continued. "It's just a matter of putting them together and teaching them all how to play the game."

Kiwan Smith is the lone holdover from the previous Laurinburg regime. The high-flying 6-foot-7 wing will likely start alongside another New York native – 6-7, 200-pound Delroy James, a Rhode Island commit who spent last season at Florida Prep.

``I think we can be very good if we all play together instead of everyone trying to get individual accolades," James said of the group. "Coach Reid has done a great job and is trying to do the best for all of us kids – beyond just basketball."

The New York flavor doesn't end there. Vernon Teel, who put up big numbers last season in high school, is a 6-2 ½ scorer who will likely start at shooting guard. Phil Jones is a 6-foot-10, 250-pound skilled big man who spent last year at Lutheran Christian Academy in Philadelphia.

The final starter will likely be 6-foot Canadian floor leader Ronnie Williams, a pure point guard who gets everyone else involved before looking for his own shot.

Reid was worried, at one time, about getting enough players for this season. Now he's got enough bodies that he may be forced to go with two teams.

New Yorkers Kay Ayemi (6-5, 195), Willie Ethridge (6-4) and Devon Baker (6-0) are all expected to provide depth off the bench. Zach Payton is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound junior from Indiana who reminds Reid of a taller Mark Jackson.

Three more New Yorkers, Lawrence Williams (6-6), Chris "Sky" Walker (6-4) and Kevin Anderson (6-9, 195), will also figure into the equation – as will 6-7 seniors Keny Akusionwa of England and Olajuwon Kemp of Tennessee.

Other players on the roster include combo guard Robert Rose, 6-foot point guard Jovan Campbell from Indiana, 6-5 Arthur Rhodes of Mississippi and 7-footer Kyle Luckett of Indiana.

Reid is also expecting to add a trio of overseas players: Cameroon natives David Fondki (6-9) and Yves Leunde (6-6) along with 6-8 Lithuanian Laulius Cibulskis.

``I think we can be as good as they were last year," Jones said. "We just need to have the chemistry, because we have a lot of talent."

``It's going to be hard to live up to the expectations after Coach Chaney left," Reid said. "But we're going to play less games and try and stress academics and education a little more."

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