With so many players gone from last year's Mountain West Conference championship Boise State basketball team, the Broncos were in need of a new influx of talent. In walked James Reid.
Reid, a 6-foot-3 guard, transferred to Boise from Arkansas-Little Rock, where he played last season for the Trojans. Before that, James was a teammate and roommate of current Bronco Montigo Alford for two years at national junior college powerhouse College of Southern Idaho. Reid acknowledges that Alford played an important role in him coming to Boise State: "When I decided I was going to leave Arkansas-Little Rock, and this option came up, he was all on board for getting me back out here."
Reid averaged 7.9 points per game last year at Arkansas-Little Rock. He hit 52 3-pointers, the most for the Trojans in five seasons, and had 43 assists to 23 turnovers. Reid, originally from Bend, Oregon, averaged 8.7 points per game his freshman season at CSI to earn All Region 18 Honorable Mention accolades, and then averaged 8.9 ppg as a sophomore.
Reid said that Bronco coach Ridley had recruited him heavily when James was at Mountain View High School in Bend, and that Reid had visited Boise State. Through the relationship he had with the Bronco coaches during his recruiting and his connection with Alford, Reid decided to contact Boise State. "When I got in touch with them," James said, "it was a match, to say the least." "It's closer to home, good style, good system for me as a player."
Because of eligibility rules for transfers, James is required to sit out a season, and he is starting out his Bronco career as a walk-on.
But Reid is already a key part of this Bronco team. You can see it in his excitement level, in his demeanor, in the way he practices and in the way his teammates respond to him. Although his contributions won't be measured in stat sheets, and Reid won't officially make his Boise State debut until next season, James is a valuable part in the Bronco machine.
In fact, it wouldn't be a stretch to say he has become a leader on this team. He practices hard and challenges those that will be on the court for Boise State coach Leon Rice--he challenges their defense, makes them work, makes them aware of the importance of establishing passing lanes and working hard throughout practice.
Reid knows he has found a home here learning under Coach Rice and his assistants. "He's a great coach," Reid said. "He had success at Gonzaga. I grew up sort of a Gonzaga fan, being from the Northwest and rooting for the underdog. I like the way he puts trust--he trusts his players, he trusts his assistants, and it's proven to work. It's a great place to be in."
Reid's scrappy play and basketball intelligence is already drawing comparisons to Rob Heyer, who played an instrumental role in Boise State's championship run last year. Reid's path to Boise State is similar to Heyer's--Rob transferred from Division II Texas-Permian Basin in 2013 and redshirted his first year before making a huge impact last season. There's another thing that Reid and Heyer have in common. Reid is a sharpshooter no matter where he is on the court, connecting on 45% of this three-point attempts at CSI and displaying uncanny accuracy at the free-throw line--84% (100-114) for his career. Only one Bronco on last year's team was more accurate than that in the latter department--Rob Heyer at 86.1%.
Upon seeing how Reid plays the game and learning that James played for his father, Craig, at Mountain View High, fans will probably tap their intuition and say, "That makes sense." Like most sons that play for their father-coaches, James has had basketball bred into him. The sport has been passed down to him.
Craig Reid stepped down as head coach at Mountain View earlier this year after 15 seasons at the helm. Reid brought his team to the Oregon State High School 5A Tournament several times, but the team enjoyed their best season in 2010, when James was a sophomore. James went on to average 20.9 points as a junior and posted a 21.7 scoring average, 7.4 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game as a senior in earning 5A All-State honors.
James has been nearly an instant hit with his Bronco teammates as well, both on and off the court. They see not only his talent but his work ethic and maturity. James has not only fit in here, he is thriving. "It's just a great group of guys to be around," he said. "It's going to be a great year and I'm excited to be a part of it."