Next Level: Tyrel Reed Spotlight

DALLAS --- Put in the position that Tyrel Reed found himself in on Saturday, many other players playing for as much as the 6-3 point guard from Burlington (Kan.) High had on the line would have chosen to sit out. He'd never tell you about it, or use it as an excuse, but Reed has a pretty gimpy ankle that's limited his ability to cut and explode out of dribble moves.

Sure, lots of people play through bad ankles and without excuses, just like Reed did on Saturday. But at the same time, not many of them have managed to build up the buzz regarding his ability to run a team that Reed has without the benefit of playing in a major media center, or having already proved himself in a major summer ball setting.

Those close to him, and those who have seen him play enough, know that he's the real deal as a high major recruit, and on Saturday morning at the Next Level Invitational there was a pretty high powered crowd of head coaches and assistants assembled looking to decide for themselves if the kid was the truth.

With coaches from North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Kansas, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Oklahoma, Missouri, and who knows else in attendance for his KC Pump ‘N Run team's 8 a.m. game, the results were mixed. After a long day of travel, and a late Friday night game, Reed struggled to find his shot early and finished with just two points, two rebounds and a pair of assists in the first half. By the time the game had finished, he'd warmed up enough to finish with 16 points, six assists, six rebounds and five steals. He was just getting started.

"It's a good feeling to know that people care," said Reed of the assembled throng of coaches. "My recruiting is going pretty well for now, being from a small town. It's a good feeling."

Most importantly to Reed, his team got a victory which meant that they had won their pool and moved into championship bracket play.

The next time out, some of the same coaches were there, some new ones showed up, and others didn't come back. Feeling a little more loose, Reed got it cooking from downtown as he buried six threes and moved the KC Pumps into the second round of the playoffs while finishing with 25 points. Now that the engine was started, it was just about time for Reed to push it into high gear.

Because he isn't listed in that many rankings and the major scouting services can't offer highlight reels, his play to those reading about him is a bit of a mystery. Is he quick enough, can he get by people, who can he guard?

Even though he'd already answered those questions to himself long ago, those who saw him on Saturday were getting a picture. Tyrel Reed can play, regardless of where he ends up or what skeptics might say about his small school pedigree.

"I feel like I can compete with anybody," said Reed. "It's not like being from a small school makes it like I can't. So, yeah, I feel like I can compete."

Finally, in the nightcap on the main stage of the Next Level that is Duncanville High's beautiful arena, Reed found himself and his teammates matched up against the well known Metro Hawks from New York who feature stud 2008 big man Samardo Samuels and plenty of talent to surround him.

After the Hawks jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead, Reed took control of the moment and completely dominated the game. By halftime, he'd hit on an assortment of closely guarded threes, tough drives, and floaters to score 19 points as his team erased the deficit and took a 12 point halftime lead.

By the game's end, Reed had helped extend the lead and hit a few more tough shots. Not only did he do that, the normally reserved guard even stared down a few of the New Yorkers after hitting a heavily contested three from the corner before he finished with 32 points and six assists with just a pair of turnovers.

With another heavy crew of coaches in attendance, Reed had solidified his status as legit player and the buzz was spreading quickly that the coming week would likely produce a pretty nice haul of scholarship offers. But, he didn't care what the onlookers thought because that just isn't how he's wired.

UNC asst. Steve Robinson has been tracking Reed this weekend
"I'm not really worried about impressing anyone," Reed told Inside Carolina. "If you win, you always look good and play good so that's all that matters."

That being said, there are a few programs who are starting to separate themselves. Georgia Tech -- Paul Hewitt was on hand twice Saturday -- is in the mix, home state Kansas is there and so are Virginia, Wake Forest, Stanford, Kansas State and new Missouri coach Mike Anderson has even made an impression after following up a mid week visit by watching every minute of Reed's three Saturday games.

Of course North Carolina -- assistant Steve Robinson was on hand all day long -- is in there as well and while he's still got business to take care of on Sunday and he didn't want to name favorites, he's aware that the Heels are tracking his progress closely.

"They just say that they are going to try and come to a lot of games whether it be assistant coaches or Coach [Roy] Williams," said Reed. "Coach Williams was out in Vegas. I think he talked to my dad and my dad said he thought I played well. Out in Vegas we were a little short of players so we didn't do as well as we could of, but overall he thought I was all right."

And Reed was more than all right on Saturday at the Next Level, as his evening performance means he has officially arrived on the national stage.

Tyrel Reed Profile

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