"I'm not blaming the school," Reed said. "This time off made me realize I need to make better decisions in my life and handle my problems and become a leader and a role model. It's been hard."
Saint Louis University released a statement on Oct. 13, just days before the start of basketball practice, that Reed and Mitchell "are currently not enrolled at the University. Federal law — the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) — does not allow the University to release any additional information without the consent of the students involved."
In the days that followed that announcement, it was revealed that Mitchell and Reed, the Billikens' leading scorers a year ago as sophomores, had been suspended following a hearing by the university's student conduct committee after allegations of a sexual assault on campus on May 1.
Those allegations were investigated by St. Louis police and presented to the St. Louis circuit attorney's office. No charges were filed, and the case was closed by the circuit attorney's office recently.
Sources told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the committee recommended a one-year suspension for each player, but as part of the appeal process the university administration told the players they could return in January for the spring semester if they met certain conditions.
Those conditions, Reed said on Wednesday, included 50 hours of community service, eight hours of counseling and a letter of apology to the team, the school and the woman who made the allegations.
Reed, a 6-foot-9 post player who led the Billikens in rebounding and blocked shots last season and was second on the team in scoring, said on Wednesday that he is prepared to do whatever it takes to return.
He said he has completed "about half of the community service" work so far and is on track to complete the other conditions of his suspension in time to return in January.
"I feel like I've really changed," Reed said. "I think clearly and thoroughly before I make any decisions now."
Reed, who said he has been working at a nursing home while living with his mother in the Kansas City area, still talks to his former teammates on a regular basis. He says he has listened to the radio broadcasts of the Billikens (1-1) so far and "just wishing I could be there to help."
In the days following SLU's announcement, Reed and his father, Willie Reed Sr., asked for and were granted his release from his letter of intent. That put the player in position to speak with other schools and continue his career elsewhere.
"That's not where my heart is," Reed said. "My heart is to be a Billiken. That's what I want to be, and I don't want to be anything else. If I can't go back, I don't know what I will do. I really miss and love the Saint Louis campus and the community. I'll do whatever it takes to be back. I want to be back in that system and back with that family."
"I love my teammates," Reed said.
He said he has talked with Saint Louis senior graduate manager Tony Young and exchanged text messages with assistant coaches Porter Moser and Chris Harriman and told them of his desire to return.
As of Wednesday night, Reed had not spoken to Billikens head coach Rick Majerus, but hoped to do so soon.
"It's up to him if he wants me back in his system," Reed said. "I'd love to be back. I love the way he coaches."
Reed, who said he has talked to Mitchell "two or three times" since the school made its decision, said that he was the happiest in his life during his time as a student-athlete at Saint Louis University.
Saint Louis University athletics officials declined comment.