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."
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