It has been quite some time since a freshman basketball player has garnered the attention a young point guard at Harlem High School is getting this season.
Sure, Matt Scott was solid at Lakeside, and a few years back Greenbrier started a trio of freshmen in Chad Waddell, Justin Cofer and Dejon Britton. And there have been other players in the county who were solid as ninth-graders.
However, to get to a freshman playing as well as Harlem freshman Reggie Reid, you have to go all the way back to 1995, when Evans freshman Fredie Williams was turning heads.
Williams did a lot of his damage as a defender, using his quickness at the defensive end to produce easy lay-ins on offense.
Williams had two areas that held him back: He was never a great outside shooter, and he struggled academically. But in 1995 he went toe-to-toe with the likes of Vonteego Cummings (Thomson) and Ricky Moore (Westside) and held his own.
Cummings and Moore would go on to stardom on the college level at Pittsburgh and University of Connecticut, respectively. Moore won a national title and Cummings was a first-round NBA selection.
Williams’ grades forced him to go the junior college route, but he got his grades in order and became a two-year starter at point guard for the Texas Longhorns.
It is a bit early to say Reid will achieve this type of long-term success, but it does not take an Ivy League degree to see the kid can play.
I first got wind of Reid after he performed at a major event a few months ago in Atlanta, the Pangos All-South Camp. This event was the coming-out party for past high school stars like Derrick Favors and Quincy Miller. A buddy of mine called and said he had seen a few kids from the Augusta area who were impressive. One of the names he mentioned was Reggie Reid.
Well, I should have called Harlem basketball coach Kim Chambers right then to inquire about Reid, but he was still an incoming freshman and was in the Class of 2015. Although I valued my friend’s opinion, I took a wait-and-see approach.
There is no longer time to wait. Through Harlem’s first five games, he has poured in 22.2 points per contest, including a career-high 31 in a victory over Glascock County. That 31-point effort means the kid tied my high school career high in his third varsity game.
The impressive thing about Reid’s great start has been the consistency. He has games of 20, 19, 31, 20, and 21 points. Also, Harlem has been extremely competitive so far this season. The Bulldogs are 2-4 with an overtime victory over Greenbrier to go with their win versus Glascock. They lost another overtime game in the rematch with Greenbrier, and lost to Evans and Lakeside, which are AAAA schools.
The two victories may be modest, but keep in mind Harlem has only averaged a little more than four wins per season for the past six years, so 2-4 is not a bad start.
A few other players are playing well for Harlem, too. Dylan Farmer (6-foot-1 shooting guard) and Alonzo Hill (6-foot-1 guard/forward) also have played well for the Bulldogs. But make no mistake: Reid is the straw that stirs the drink at Harlem. He is already a decent size at just more than 5-foot-11 and plays with confidence. He is not afraid at all to take the ball to rack vs. bigger players.
I have only seen him live one time and I am already a believer. Reid is a kid with a very bright future at Harlem.