"Another one bites the dust." That's the song that would have been buzzing through the minds of Michigan basketball fans had Herndon, Virginia's Scottie Reynolds not traveled to Ann Arbor on Friday. After a month-long deliberation, the 6-0 180-pound McDonald's All-American had set a decision date. It wasn't until after he had settled on his choice that he decided to make a return visit to Michigan. After having been back to the Great Lake State, the youngster is glad he ignored his initial inclination to just stay home and follow through with his prior plans.
"When I came to Michigan I just didn’t know what to expect," admitted Reynolds. "I really didn’t want to visit because I had it made up in my mind where I wanted to go. But I said, 'let me go to Michigan just to see what happens. I haven’t been there in almost two years. You know things have changed…the coaching staff… the players… people coming people leaving.' I think the biggest change was playing with the guys. That was real big for me in terms of getting to know them. We had a Barbecue over coach Amaker’s house we were just chilling and talking about everything with the guys. It was really cool. Everybody was in chill mode. We had a chance to go to the softball game and that was cool."
While enjoying himself on his trip, Reynolds began to notice the firmness of the college decision he made before visiting Michigan beginning to soften. That cemented in his mind the fact that his choice to take the trip was the right one.
"I just didn’t know what was going to happen on my visit," reiterated Reynolds. "I didn’t want to come, but it was the right thing to do. I had my mind made up and now I have done a 180 degree turn. I had to do this for myself…not because of Coach Amaker, but for myself. I am glad I went. I will tell you what…it was a good experience."
"The visit has really opened my eyes a little," continued Reynolds. "Being with the guys and stepping on the court was like I had been on campus for about four years with them. I felt comfortable there, man, just balling. I am comfortable with the staff…Coaches Moore, Swenson, Jackson and Amaker."
While Reynolds' comfort level with the Michigan staff can certainly be looked upon as a feather in the Maize and Blue's cap, it was not his comfort with them that was at issue. It is now evident that the primary objective for the coaches was making Reynolds more comfortable with the direction of the program and the PLAYERS that would help guide it.
"It is a concern of mine," Reynolds said regarding the long term prospects of the team. "If you look at the team this year, there are four senior starters, but what are we going to have for the year after that? Now I know we will have Jerret, DeShawn, Anthony, Kendric, K’len, Ronnie and Ekpe. I see that with every school. I look down the line at their situation. That is a concern I have everywhere I look… not just Michigan, but everywhere."
Recognizing some of the questions Reynolds had coming in about the talent on hand in Ann Arbor, and how he might fit in, the staff hit him hard with their outlook on where things currently stand, and their vision of where things will go.
"This was the first time I had a face to face meeting with Coach Jackson and he was straight up with me," recalled Reynolds. "He played the game against some top guys. Coach Jackson is real passionate about Michigan and he is helping those players get to where they need to be. He took me to the airport and we talked about next year’s team and the year after that. We talked about U of M being a good fit for me. He said I am going to have players here to play with."
Selling that message even harder than Jackson was Michigan's point man in Reynolds' recruitment, the headman himself, Tommy Amaker. The bond between the two point-guards endured even after Reynolds committed to Oklahoma. Now that they've come full circle with yet another opportunity to work together squarely in front of them, each wonders if a coach-player relationship just might be destiny.
"He has been there for me all along," Reynolds said regarding his connection with Amaker. "He told me that maybe I am just supposed to go to Michigan…that it is meant to be. That is what he is telling me…and maybe I am believing it a little myself. Me and Coach Amaker have been cool since I was a freshman. It is always going to be that way. Coach was telling me how I can be an impact player there at Michigan. He said I could come in and ignite the whole thing."
Michigan's strong recruiting pitch has given Reynolds a great deal more to think about. So much so that he isn't sure that he'll be able to stick to his previous decision timetable.
"It looks like it could still be Tuesday, but I just might move it back to be honest with you," he said. "It is a tough position to be in. Where I will fit in at? You want to be sure that you are making the right decision. It is tough because of the time period. Ideally I would like more time to decide. I want to be somewhere I can make an impact and help my team. I want to come in and make my teammates better. I am looking at which place is going to allow me to do that. I talked to my mom and she said to just go with my feelings. Hopefully I will be in bed and after praying on it, just wake up about three in the morning and say, 'this is where I am going to college.' "
"You have no idea what I am going through," continued Reynolds. "It is going to be a tough decision."
Stay tuned for parts two and three of GoBlueWolverine's feature on Scottie Reynolds. In them he discusses his interaction with the Michigan players.