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Scottie Reynolds at Summer League

When he was still a supposedly undersized, supposedly un-athletic guard at Herndon High, Scottie Reynolds began assembling his wall of disrespect.

When someone said he was a Division I talent in a Division III body, that went on the wall of his Northern Virginia bedroom. When he was called a shorter, slower Allen Iverson, that went on the wall. When he didn't make all-star teams, or all-league teams, or prospect watch lists, it all went on the wall.

"A big wall, a big platter," Reynolds said, describing the litany of slights. "Just a big wall of articles. It started out being around the area, then it was nationally. I try to keep that going."

The NBA Draft provided him another shot. Last month, after averaging 18.5 points for a Villanova team that was ranked in the top 10 all season, Reynolds went undrafted. He was the first AP All-American since 1976 not to be selected. Before the night was over, Reynolds printed out the full list of all 60 drafted players and put it on his bedroom wall, with all the rest of the criticism.

"I wasn't mad, I wasn't mad at all," Reynolds told me this week in Las Vegas, where he's competing with the Phoenix Suns' Summer League team. "Everybody always talks about what I can't do, this and that. That's been my career. I've always proved people wrong. Hopefully I can do that now."

It's actually fairly amazing how constant the critique has been, and how constant Reynolds's response has been.

"Whatever I can do to prove people wrong, I'm going to try to do it because I've been doing it my whole life," he told the Connection Newspapers in 2005.

His high school coach, Gary Hall, said Reynolds was first told he couldn't succeed at Herndon. Then he was told he was feasting on weak public-school talent. Then that he wouldn't make it in AAU. Then that he couldn't cut it in the Big East.

"I've seen this script over and over again," Hall told me. "I just spoke about that very topic with the kids at a basketball camp this week, that people have been doubting Scottie since he came to Herndon high school. Scottie's production has been the same, regardless of the situation, no matter where he is."

Reynolds worked out for about 10 NBA teams this spring, but didn't expect to get drafted. He spent draft night back at Herndon High, opening the gym to about 25 or 30 friends from the area, players of his generation and older guys from Grant Hill's era. They played for hours as the first round went on, and stopped sometime during the second round, when Reynolds continued to be passed over.

The Suns were the first team to call after the draft, and Reynolds and his agent thought they were a good fit - Steve Nash to learn from, an offense somewhat similar to the one he ran at Villanova. Friends and fans from Northern Virginia and Villanova were disgusted that Reynolds wasn't selected, but he said he didn't pay it any mind.

"Always take the high road," he said with a grin. "That's just the way the ball rolled for me. Right now it's worked out great. When that happens, you've got a chance to make it a positive or a negative. I've chose to make it a positive."

He tweaked his Achilles' while working out with Kyle Lowry and others, and missed Phoenix's first two three Summer League games, but he made his debut Monday night, playing at what he said was about 80 percent health. In his first game, he scored 16 points in 18 minutes. In his second, he nine assists and two turnovers.

Suns Summer League coach Dan Majerle told the Valley of the Suns blog that Reynolds needs to improve his jump shot, but that "a guy like that who can make plays for other people, you surround him with good players and he can be a good asset for anybody's team."

As for Reynolds, he said it's "not my decision" whether he has a future in Phoenix, that all he can do is "go out there each and every day and work hard."

Hall, needless to say, likes his former player's chances.

"I believe in my heart he's gonna be on an NBA roster," he told me. "You never bet against Scottie Reynolds."

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 15, 2010; 1:01 PM ET
Categories:  NBA  
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I wish him luck. I think he has to smarts/ability to be a solid contributor to an NBA team. It's still surprising he didn't get drafted, but at least he has a good outloook on it all.

Posted by: walkdwalk | July 15, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

It sucks that he's had to face so much criticism and negativity because he's such a good guy. He has kept his nose clean,has a great support system and spent 4 years in college. There aren't many NBA players who can claim all three of those things.

Reynolds will be fine though, and I expect him to have a solid NBA career. He may have to pay his dues in the D League for part of a season or a whole season, but his leadership and ability to effectively distribute the ball will make it hard for a team like Phoenix or anyone else to not at least make him part of their 15 man roster.

If you think about it, he isn't any less of an athlete than Steve Blake, and Blake has developed into a very serviceable PG.

I believe that too many teams and GM's get caught up in the notion of hitting a Home Run in the draft, particuarly after pick 15. There is too much emphasis placed on "size" "potential" and "upside" and not enough of intelligence, commitment and motivation. Whatever Scotty lacks in the first three, he makes up for ten fold in the latter three.

Posted by: mtorioles | July 15, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the good story and update on Reynolds, Dan.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 15, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

This is welcome news...I believe this kid can make it in the NBA - and probably have a solid career. Suns are OK, but I'd like to see him with the Spurs. Popovich could do wonders with him.

Posted by: soccerman | July 15, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Ha! Reynolds isn't a better athlete than Steve Blake is. Just b/c of skin color don't automatically assume that Reynolds is more athletic. Irregardless of that, Blake has WAY better pure PG skills, much better vision and passing ability. He's also 4 inches taller, and a much better shooter. Reynolds isn't half the PG that Blake is, Blake was one of the best pure college PG's of all time. Reynolds was a very good combo guard, which are a dime a dozen these days, and that's it.

Posted by: KidM3 | July 15, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

A guy who averaged 11 points a game and 6-7 assist is not one of the greatest pure point guards of all time. That goes to guys like Hurley, Ty Lawson, Mike Bibby. No way in hell is Blake in that crowd. Please.

Posted by: maverick5 | July 15, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Reynolds has always had the "chip" on his shoulder in a good way, he'll use this percieved slight to ramp up his game and make the Suns roster.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 15, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing that, after what Scottie did at Herndon (singlehandedly carried them to regional title) and Villanova (led them to Final Four, All-America) that he goes undrafted. Putting his athleticism aside, the NBA undervalues guys who simply win. Most recent example: Jameer Nelson, a big winner at St. Joe's, dropped way down in the draft. Now a high-production starting PG on a top team.
Here's hoping Scottie shows them all wrong again, apprentices with Nash, then takes over that team when Nash retires. He's a winner.

Posted by: Tom Jackman | July 15, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Great article Dan. I bought the NBA Summer League BroadBand package just to watch Scottie. Was very sorry to see that he had the achilles problem that kept him out of the first two games...but man, watching him take over the game in the Suns 3rd Summer League game was just AWESOME. He was 6 for 8 from the field, 6 for 6 from the line and distributed the ball better than anyone on the court. He made all of his team mates better...a true leader. He was not a first team AP All-American for is ridiculous that he did not get drafted. Keepin' em crossed for our boy from Herndon!

Posted by: dkidwell32 | July 15, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

maverick5 - Steve Blake is 5th all time in the NCAA in assists. Not the ACC, but the NCAA. Mike Bibby and Ty Lawson nowhere to be found on that list. He also was a key member of two final four teams and a championship. He is clearly one of the best PURE Pg's of all time, and obviously you don't follow basketball too much if you don't agree.

Posted by: KidM3 | July 15, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Maverick5 - Bibby also never averaged more than 5.5 assists per game in college and was clearly a shoot first PG. Apparently you don't understand the connotation of "PURE" PG, but think John Stockton, and that might help. Blake is clearly one of the best pure college PG's ever and the #s do not lie.

Posted by: KidM3 | July 15, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

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