SLU Signee Reed Back on Court

ST. LOUIS — A lot has changed since last June when Willie Reed committed to play his college basketball for coach Rick Majerus at Saint Louis University. After attending two high schools during his senior year, the 6-foot-11 power forward from the Kansas City area is now enrolled in college.

When he took the court on Saturday night for the Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation All-Star Game at Harris-Stowe State University, Reed was playing in his first organized basketball game in several months — well, for as much as you can call an all-star game organized.

"It felt good being back on the court, playing the game that I love," he said.

When he committed to SLU last June, Reed was looking forward to his senior season at Bishop Miege High School in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. A few months later, however, the talented post player transferred to Milestone Christian Academy in Kansas City.

Willie Reed
After one semester there, and only a few basketball games, Reed realized Milestone wasn't the school for him. So he transferred back to his old school, Bishop Miege, but was not eligible to play basketball for the remainder of the season because of transfer rules.

On Saturday night, Reed was back on the court, playing with one of his future teammates (Femi John) and playing against one of his future teammates (Kwamain Mitchell).

That Mitchell's National all-star squad had defeated Reed's Local team, 130-121, didn't matter so much that the lanky power forward was back on the court again, doing what he loves to do.

Reed took just two shots and made just two shots, though one of those shots was a thunderous two-handed dunk down the middle of the lane in the second quarter off a nifty pass from a teammate who drove the baseline.

It is that impressive athleticism that made Reed a big target for college coaches, but the big man knows he has to get bigger and stronger to be ready to play college basketball.

Reed said that he weighs 194 pounds. During Saturday's game, he was matched up mostly against DePaul signee Krys Faber, who is 6-11 and weighs 260 pounds.

"It's kind of tough, being out of condition and everything and seeing that everyone, strength-wise, is a little stronger than me," Reed said of his performance. "I know I have a lot to work on."

Reed has been putting in work. He's been taking English and math classes at Saint Louis U. for the last few weeks and getting a quick introduction into the world of the college basketball student-athlete.

"It's been kind of hard, but at the same time it's making me better," Reed said. "We've got classes from 8 to 12. Then we've got an hour break, then we go from 1 to 2 and then tutoring 2 to 5 and then workouts from 5:30 to 7 and open gym from 7:30 to 9. Basically, after that, you're too tired to do anything else so you get ready for the next day."

Reed has been working out with and playing with and against his future teammates, including three members of SLU's incoming recruiting class: Mitchell, John and 7-foot center Brett Thompson.

"Playing with them has been great," Reed said. "Kwamain's a great point guard. He knows how to find anybody on the court and he's a great shooter. Femi's just a real great shooter. Brett's tough to play against. He makes everyone around him better. He's a big presence."

That foursome — which will soon be joined by fellow incoming freshmen Brian Conklin, Kyle Cassity and Ruben Cotto — has been spending a lot of time together, in class, in workouts, walking through campus and just hanging out.

Reed said he, Thompson, Mitchell and John all play well together and he's excited about what those freshmen could mean to the future of Saint Louis University basketball in the next few seasons.

"I think what we can do together," Reed said, "is we can take SLU to the next level."

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