Friar Basketball

AJ Reeves Is Going To Get Buckets

AJ Reeves Friars.com Friars.com


Ed Cooley has never had a shooting guard like this at his disposal.

It’s somewhat astounding that Cooley and his Friars have reached five straight NCAA tournaments without a big-time bucket getter at off-guard.

Bryce Cotton played off of the ball early in his career, but when this run of tournament appearances began, Cotton was thrust into full-time point guard duties after Kris Dunn underwent shoulder surgery.

Alpha Diallo is more of a wing, Josh Fortune had limitations, Junior Lomomba was a defensive specialist, and the list goes on.

Just how long has Providence waited for a true scoring guard? The Friars haven’t had an off-guard average in double figures since Cotton’s junior year (2012-13). That was a lifetime ago — and the last time PC did not make the NCAA tournament.

The wait is now over.

Enter AJ Reeves.

The freshman from Roxbury, MA is essentially the prototype. He’s 6’6, makes 3s off of the catch or the bounce, has an in-between game consisting of floaters and fadeaways, and can finish with his with head at the rim. There’s not much he can’t do offensively, and he showed a bit of everything as Friarbasketball.com tracked him throughout all of last season.

Here’s what I saw during his senior season at Brimmer and May:

The catch and shoot game: This may be where Reeves finds a niche for himself early in his Providence career. PC was a poor 3-point shooting team a season ago (258th nationally at 33%) and lost top marksmen Jalen Lindsey and Rodney Bullock.

As the centerpiece of Brimmer and May’s offense last season, Reeves wasn’t left open for long on the perimeter, but he showed time and again that he’ll punish teams if left unchecked.

 

 

Fadeaways: Reeves freed himself from defenders often at the prep level with step-back fadeaway jumpers. With good size and athleticism, he should be able to eventually do the same in college.

 

Exaggerated right to left crossover: You see a bit of it in the third clip below, but one area Reeves developed was his ability to hit difficult floaters and off-balanced shots in the paint. One particular game that stands out was against David Duke and Cushing on Reeves’ senior night at Brimmer. His outside shot wasn’t falling, so he got into the paint and reached 30 points through free throws and difficult floaters. This crossover often helped him get into the paint.

 

Scoring in traffic: Unlike many sharpshooting prospects, Reeves won’t hesitate to venture into the paint. We already saw him make an impact on the glass in the exhibition games. In the exhibition opener he scored off of an offensive rebound, beat his man backdoor, threw down a loud one handed dunk on the break, and could have brought the house down on an alley oop attempt in the second half, but the pass was errant.

 

Rocking defenders to sleep: One of the prettier parts of Reeves’ game is when he lulls defenders to sleep off of the dribble. He was especially effective in doing so from the top of the key last season.

 

The season ahead: While billed as a shooter by many recruiting services, Reeves was asked to do a lot of different things for Brimmer and May throughout his four years there. As with any freshman, there will be an adjustment to the speed of the college game and the energy of playing in front of thousands of people. Still, in watching him closely over the past two seasons in particular, I found myself wondering if he’ll find easier scoring opportunities as a freshman than in a high level prep league in which teams were throwing waves of defenders at him.

There’s not much Reeves can’t do offensively, as he figures to be an explosive scorer during his career at Providence.

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More on AJ Reeves:

AJ Reeves’ Journey to Providence (interview with Reeves and Brimmer and May head coach Tom Nelson): http://friarbasketball.com/2018/01/29/aj-reeves-journey-providence/

Duke and Reeves Meet One Final Time (article from Reeves’ senior night when Brimmer played David Duke and Cushing): http://friarbasketball.com/2018/02/27/duke-reeves-meet-one-final-time/

Twitter Reactions: AJ Reeves Commits to Providence: http://friarbasketball.com/2017/06/25/twitter-reactions-aj-reeves-commits-providence/

What I Learned About AJ Reeves in Defeat: http://friarbasketball.com/2017/06/26/learned-aj-reeves-defeat/

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