At 6-foot-9, you can't miss him walking around Roxana, Illinois. Just 30 miles north of St. Louis, Hunter Reine is the talk of the town. For the rest of the Midwest, though, he's flown under the radar.
"When he got a chance to play for the [St. Louis] Eagles, we jumped at it," Reine's mother Rebecca said. "My husband has always been worried that he would go under recruited because we're from Roxana."
His father is 6-foot-10 and his mother also has a basketball background, so they understand the importance of getting out in front of college coaches.
Although he doesn't yet hold any offers, Roxana high school coach Mark Briggs said Illinois State, Indiana State, Evansville, and several Missouri Valley Conference schools have called about him. Saint Louis has also expressed interest.
"He's definitely improved a lot," Briggs said. "He's always been a great rebounder and he has the natural ability."
He continually faces double and triple teams from opponents, but that hasn't stopped him from averaging 17.6 points and 13.3 rebounds per game through his first eight contests.
According to Rebecca, Tennessee and Illinois have also come in to check him out. At the Illinois team camp last year, Reine suffered an injury which put him on the shelf for big exposure events such as the Peach Jam. The Illini are his "dream school" according to his mother, and it was difficult for him to sit out potential opportunities to play in front of their staff.
Aside from being recruited and playing well in front of those who matter, there are other inherent obstacles as well, such as making the adjustments against better competition. Briggs truly believes that Reine has the talent to get to the next level, but admits that it's not an easy transition.
"It's a quantum leap between high school and college basketball," Briggs noted. "He needs to improve his body and get stronger. He gives a tremendous amount of effort at the high school level, but it's different in college."
This upcoming summer will be important for Reine as he intends to showcase his talents on the biggest stages of AAU basketball by traveling with the Eagles, one of the Midwest's premier squads.
"He's got tons of athleticism and potential body-wise," Briggs said. "He's been compared to several players from Butler and Baylor."
It'll be interesting to track his progress throughout the rest of his junior campaign and into the summer months.