Friar Basketball

A Closer Look: AJ Reeves

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Prospect: AJ Reeves

Position: SG

High School: Brimmer and May

AAU Program: Mass Rivals

Class: 2018

Overview:

If you were to build a shooting guard from scratch, AJ Reeves would be the prototype. He’s all of 6’6, plays far above the rim, and has developing strength; but the one thing that leaps out when watching him is his jump shot. It’s the jumper that Tom Nelson, Reeves’ head coach at Brimmer and May, raves most about when speaking about his star. 

What stands out the most is his beautiful jump shot. He has great size for the guard/wing position, but has nice lift, a high release, and can score with people all over him,” said Nelson. “This year he faced double teams and more, but he was still able to make shots. When you talk about AJ Reeves the first thing you talk about is his jumper. It is Ray Allen-like — just poetry every time he releases it.” 

Despite double, or triple teams being thrown at him, Reeves scored at will and was named 1st Team All NEPSAC in the ultra-competitive Class AA this past season. He is a four star guard out of Massachusetts who has long been considered one of the top, if not the best, New England prospect in the class of 2018. He has offers from the likes of Providence, Syracuse, UConn, Villanova, Boston College, and Northwestern.

Nelson has coached Reeves for three seasons at Brimmer and May — a small school in Chestnut Hill, MA — as well as on the AAU circuit with the Mass Rivals. In that time he has seen Reeves develop as both a basketball player and a student.

“AJ came in like most 14-year-olds without a great work ethic, but oozing with talent. He thought he knew what hard work was, but he had no idea. He was always a nice kid, very pleasant and polite, but lacking discipline to his studies and the game in which he loved,” said Nelson.

“Over these three years that has changed completely. He is now an honor roll student, and works so hard on the court on his own to become the best ball player he can be. Brimmer and May and the Rivals have done wonders for him.”

That work ethic, combined with the natural talent that made him a highly regarded player from the time he entered high school, has Reeves in position for a monster summer. The Rivals have done masterful work in grooming young talent, and saw Wenyen Gabriel transform himself from fringe top 100 player to an eventual Kentucky recruit two years ago, and point guard Wabissa Bede quickly emerge into a top 75 point guard last summer.

Reeves and Providence native David Duke look primed to take the mantle for Mass Rivals this summer, and both are priority recruits for Ed Cooley and his staff.

Cooley was the first high major coach to offer Reeves, doing so at Late Night Madness in October 2015. Reeves has since been to PC’s campus on numerous occasions and remains a top priority of the staff.

If the Friars were to land Reeves, Nelson believes they’d be bringing in not only a high upside guard, but a quality person: “AJ is a fantastic teammate that has learned to walk the line as to when to demand more from his teammates on the court or in practice, as he began to demand more from himself. But he also knows when to just give a nice compliment, encouragement, or pat on the back.”

“The best example is him coming back from an Adidas camp and giving away shoes and shirts to his teammates. I asked him why and he said, ‘I gotta take care of my guys. I made it to that camp because of them.'”

“He is such a good kid it is hard to get on him when you are coaching. His smile and good nature makes you love him. He has some fight back to him and if anyone has seen us as coach and player they know that we have moments of disagreements, but I know in the end he has my back and I have his. I like the fire and desire to either prove me right or wrong, and you need that in order to climb to the top of this game.”

With his size, shooting ability, and athleticism, Reeves projects as a potentially big-time scorer at the college level. I asked Nelson what he thought Reeves could bring to the floor as a freshman, “From day 1 he will be able to score the ball from beyond the 3-point line with efficiency. He is a high level shot maker from deep. He will be able to rebound the ball from the guard spot with his high level athleticism. He is what we call a bucket getter.  His game translates to college as he is able to score in the half court or finish very well in the open court.”

Nelson continued, “He is working on his ability to get to the rim. He is about 6’6 now and has begun to get lower on his dribble and use his size to hold off smaller defenders. If both parts of his game come together offensively then he is a problem. He has worked on the ability to defend each year. He is good in reading passing lanes and jumping, and on ball defense he is beginning to take pride in it. To be complete he knows he has to sure up both sides of the ball.”

Firsthand Impressions:

I’ve seen Reeves at Brimmer and May two-three times a season since his freshman year. Between those preps games, AAU tournaments I’ve attended, and the little you can glean from appearances at the PC Elite Camp, I’ve been impressed with how he’s developed as a shooter and also physically. This year in particular, his jumper seemed fine tuned.

I most recently saw him at Camp Errol’s all star game in March, and while little could be taken away from a game with such little defense, it truly hadn’t struck me how physically imposing he had become. If he plays shooting guard at the next level. he’ll be a big, physical one.

Twice I saw Brimmer and May playing eventual Class AA champions Cushing Academy this season (at a tournament at St. Andrew’s and in the season finale at Cushing). Cushing had far more depth and athleticism, and what stood out to me in watching both of those games was Reeves’ demeanor. He didn’t stop playing hard despite facing multiple defenders throughout, and showed no signs of being discouraged. When you watch enough prep games over the years those are the kinds of things that stand out, especially when young stars can so often get upset in those situations.

The Bottom Line:

Cooley has been persistent in his pursuit and managed to get Reeves on campus and at the Dunkin Donuts Center on multiple occasions this past season.

Reeves is taking a methodical approach to his recruitment, as he told the Woonsocket Call’s Brendan McGair in March, “Not only are you going to school to play basketball, but you’re going there to build your future and help solidify your brand… It’s unfortunate to see a lot of these kids transferring. In a way, it kind of shows that they didn’t pick the right school. You don’t want to have to sit out a year if you don’t have to, but that’s why picking the right school is so important.”

Highlights:

Twitter: @Kevin_Farrahar

Email: kevin.farrahar@friarbasketball.com

7 Comments

  1. Derec Lamenxola

    April 7, 2017 at 12:38 am

    ED Cooley Shrd Get Ashton Langford AT Providence And Ed Ciooley Has Get Alk Black Guyas Coming In To PC And I Dont Like Wight Guyas Becuase I Wont Ed#Cooley Get All.Black.BIG Gauys Come To PC AJ Shrd Come.To PC And Ashton Langford Shrd Come To PC To Jas Well

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  3. Ray Thibault

    April 8, 2017 at 4:12 am

    Ed looks like he has been hard at work. Let’s hope he can land some of these local kids who are showing that they can play at a high level.

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