Thursday, April 14, 2011

Davon Reed: A First Look

The Philadelphia area constantly churns out high-level, nationally-regarded basketball talent. This season alone, New Jersey and Philadelphia players made their presence felt during the NCAA tournament; from Philadelphia natives like Rick Jackson, Scoop Jardine, the Morris twins, and Lavoy Allen to New Jersey natives Tyshawn Taylor. Kyrie Irving, and Kenny Faried.

The current sophomore class in Philadelphia and New Jersey is loaded with talent, and one of the first names mentioned in that class is Princeton Day School (NJ) sophomore guard Davon Reed. I had a chance to speak with Davon's high school coach at PDS yesterday and learn a bit about his rising star.

Princeton Day School is coached by 2000 PDS grad, and former La Salle University football player, Paris McLean. The 2010-2011 PDS team had their most successful season since the 2003-2004 campaign, and McLean and Davon Reed are the primary reasons why. According to McLean, Davon has grown since the end of his high school season, and is currently a legitimate 6'5 and around 185 pounds. For PDS, Reed utilizes his versatility on the court, playing everywhere on the court, from the point guard spot to the low block. Down the line, his coach sees him as a shooting guard with serious upside. Something of note, according to McLean, is the fact that Davon is also young for his grade, not turning 16 until June.

As a freshman at PDS, Davon was primarily an athletic slasher to the basket. During his freshman year, he showed his athletic prowess not only on the basketball court, but also on the football field. This year, he put football to the side to focus solely on basketball. This sophomore season, he demonstrated a greatly improved perimeter game and a steady jumper. That jumper from three has improved to the point where McLean described it as one of Davon's greatest strengths. Through countless hours in the gym, Davon's game has improved leaps and bounds even since the end of the high school season.

Throughout our conversation, McLean stressed how Davon was so much more than a terrific basketball player, but also an outstanding student and an even better person. After landing his offer from SJU head coach Phil Martelli, Davon individually thanked every player on his team and every coach at Princeton Day, telling them that he wouldn't be blessed with these offers if it wasn't for them. Davon's family values education above all else, including basketball, which is one of the reasons that he is playing at Princeton Day as opposed to one of the New Jersey schools with more basketball name recognition. While PDS isn't in the realm of a Saint Anthony or a Saint Patrick's, they do have a good young nucleus of players and are likely to draw some incoming talent in the coming years. Another player on PDS to keep an eye on is freshman Langston Glaude, who plays in the backcourt with Davon. Glaude's godfather is the esteemed Dr. Cornel West, who turned out for Princeton Day School's game this year against rival Rutgers Prep. Also in attendance for that game were Temple's Fran Dunphy, Saint Joseph's assistant Mark Bass, and Rutgers assistant Jimmy Martelli.

This summer, Davon will be playing with Philadelphia-based Team Final on the AAU circuit, which will gain him further exposure. Although only a sophomore, Davon already has seven scholarship offers. Those offers are from VCU, Saint Joseph's, Temple, La Salle, Rutgers, Seton Hall, and West Virginia. In addition to those seven offers, Davon also has a number of other schools expressing interest and coming on strong. Those schools, according to McLean, are Villanova, Stanford, Cincinnati, and Providence. When looking at schools, Davon will not only be looking for the best basketball program, but also the best education. He is already open about what he wants to study and has shown great interest in both sports medicine and marketing. In terms of location, McLean seemed to think that Davon was likely to value location, and prefer schools on the East Coast.

Next Tuesday, Saint Joseph's head coach Phil Martelli and assistant coach Mark Bass will be on the Princeton Day School campus paying Davon a visit. With seven offers already in hand, other schools getting involved, and a busy AAU season ahead, Princeton Day will probably get accustomed to the sight of college coaches on campus.

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