Pat Chambers' Philadelphia roots have been paying dividends on the recruiting trail the last few years. Now they may help the Penn State coach land a player from Georgia, of all places.
Among the basketball visitors for the Nittany Lion football team's Blue-White Game Saturday was John Carlos Reyes of Sound Doctrine Academy in LeGrange, Ga. The 6-foot-9, 225-pounder just finished a postgraduate season at the school and is hoping to ink a Letter of Intent with a college program before the spring signing window closes May 20.
Sound Doctrine revived its basketball program last season under Vin Sparacio, who had previously coached at Rise Academy in you guessed it Philly. So he's known Chambers and PSU assistant Keith Urgo for years.
When Reyes began to emerge last season, Sparacio immediately thought of Penn State.
I had a pretty good big boy, Sparacio said. I know what they're doing, I know what they're about and trying to build. I reached out to Urgo. They came down to see him.
Chambers saw Reyes in action twice and Penn State offered in mid-January -- contingent on Reyes achieving a qualifying ACT score. Reyes, who had previously played at two different Georgia high schools, went to Sound Doctrine to work on his game and boost his ACT.
He took the test recently, and, according to Sparacio he blew it out of the water.
He did really well, and he put in a lot of work into it, the coach added. He kind of surprised us a little bit.
BLUE-WHITE GAME HOOP RECRUITS
As soon as PSU caught wind of the test scores, Sparacio said, the staff set up an official visit for Reyes. And so there he was at Beaver Stadium Saturday.
Reyes was traveling back to Georgia Sunday, and not available for an interview. But Sparacio said it went well.
Personally, I think he has a very good feeling (about Penn State), Sparacio said. I spoke to some of the guys on the staff this morning, and they said the kid had a good feeling about it. He got out of it what he wanted to get out of it. He kind of told me he wanted the best visit to be first. I know it looked awesome (on TV).
At this point, it is not clear what other visits Reyes might make. Sparacio said several other programs were keeping tabs on his ACT situation -- including SMU and Tennessee -- and he believes some coaches are gonna try to swoop in late.
He expects Reyes to make a decision in the next couple of weeks, but added, I don't think it's done yet, because it's such a crazy time of the year with transfers.
Sparacio said part of what makes Reyes so attractive is his upside. Right now, he may look like a mid-major prospect, but he has high-major potential, Sparacio said. Everyone needs a big.
According to the coach, Reyes is a true post player.
He's super skilled, Sparacio said. He's one of the few back-to-the-basket bigs. He has a nice post-up, back-to-the-basket game, a hook shot, very soft hands. We've been working on his footwork. On defense, he blocks a lot of shots. He's athletic.
Penn State has one open scholarship available for its incoming freshman class.