When I first saw Reggie Reid before the start of the 2012-13 basketball season last year, I wondered what all the fuss was about.
I didn’t see him play his freshman year, in which he averaged 19 points and five rebounds per game for the Harlem Bulldogs. He is shorter than me, standing at just 6 feet, but as I watched him in a layup drill, I was amazed. When he went to the hoop, it was like he was on an escalator the way he elevated effortlessly above the rim.
That was the first time I saw what had captivated others much earlier – just raw, natural athletic ability. And while others had come calling, Reid finally listened to ELEV|8 Sports Institute in Delray Beach, Fla.
Tuesday, he walked into Bulldogs head coach Kim Chambers’ office at Harlem and told him he was on his way to Florida to be a part of their program.
It might not be a crippling blow for the Bulldogs, but it will take some time to recover from the loss. Reid took his game to another level as a sophomore, averaging 27 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 3.7 steals per game while leading the Bulldogs to the state playoffs.
Chambers was excited about the upcoming season with the loss of just two players and the improvement of the players who would play alongside Reid, but that third loss is tough. He has time to recalibrate his game plan with the pieces already in place, but it will be hard to replace a talent like Reid’s.
I guess I was naive, thinking that it was just colleges that recruited athletes, but the word is schools have been hot for Reid to transfer since his freshman year.
So what is it about ELEV/8 that is so appealing?
The institute touts its basketball program executive director Ganon Baker as a renowned trainer who has worked with the likes of Lebron James, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant, among others.
For a young basketball player wanting to achieve the highest amount of success, those names just leap off the page.
You can’t blame Reid for wanting to get that competitive advantage, especially if college and professional basketball are in his sights.
The institute also highlights their academic program and getting its attendees into college and ready for life. Make no mistake, however, it is an athlete factory, training basketball, baseball and lacrosse players.
Once again from their website: ELEV|8 Sports Institute Inc. (“ELEV|8”) is a multi-sport training and instructional business. The core product of ELEV|8 is a player development system that avails to every age and skill level.
Their sample daily schedule lists five hours of sport-related activity and four hours devoted to coursework. What high school student wouldn’t jump at that chance? That’s almost better than a college schedule.
Advancing in the sport won’t come cheap, however. The application fee is $100 and once accepted, a $5,000 deposit is due. Non-boarding students pay $18,500 and boarding students are tagged for $30,000.
I guess there really is no price, though, when it comes to making it big.