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August 8, 2011
Hometown edge sways A&M-bound Reese
J-Mychal Reese was attending college -- J-Mychal Reese.Throughout the summer, it seemed like there was only one person who didn't know where
For weeks, basketball followers speculated that Reese would choose Texas A&M as his future college home. What many didn't know was that Reese, the 6-foot-2, 170-pound prolific scorer from Bryan High School weighed heavily on several high-major offers, including Kansas, Louisville and Oregon.
Reese made an unofficial visit to the A&M -- roughly a 10-minute drive from his home, if that long -- on Friday. A big fan of coach Billy Kennedy, Reese gave his verbal commitment to the Aggies and became the big-name, local commitment the program had been looking for.
Many felt Reese chose A&M primarily because his father, former Bryan head coach John Reese accepted an assistant's position under Kennedy (he officially resigned Monday morning after 10 seasons with Bryan). The four-star national prospect, however, set the record straight and expressed his interest playing at a big-name program that was within minutes of where he plays high school ball.
"Staying close to home was important to me. I wanted to be able to play in front of my family and friends," Reese said. "Plus, when you go through hard times in college, it's good to have family real close to you."
Reese has been coached by his father all his life, although John Reese won't be coaching J-Mychal for his senior year. Reese said he is looking forward to receiving added tutelage from his father, as well as Kennedy, a person who he considers a father figure of sorts.
"I had a good relationship with all of the coaching staff," Reese said. "I like the style of play Coach Kennedy plays. He told me I can come in and get a lot of minutes as a freshman. He told me a lot, and it opened my eyes.
"As for my dad, it's going to be a good thing for me. I know he'll be looking out for me. He trusts me, and I trust him."
Reese is ranked No. 59 nationally and is considered the 10th-best point guard in the country by Rivals.com. Reese's uncanny ability to get to the lane and score made him an extremely hot commodity from coast to coast. Reese shined during the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) playing for the Houston Hoops alongside stud guards in Duke-bound Rasheed Sulaimon and uncommitted, four-star L.J. Rose.
Scoring is Reese's forte. He once scored 52 points in a district game against Belton High School. Hoops coach Byron Gibson said it's Reese's confidence and killer instinct, however, that will make him a very dangerous player in the Big 12 Conference next year.
"He's really stepped his game up. He's not afraid to take the big shot," Gibson said. "He's become even more of a playmaker. He's not just a scorer. I challenged him on defense, too. We were getting beat my smaller guards, and I asked him to be the guy that stopped that. He's stepped up to take all challenges."
During his junior year, Reese averaged 28.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.5 steals per game, leading Bryan to a 20-13 record and a UIL Class 5A playoff berth. His last game as a junior was a 40-point performance in the playoffs against Garland Lakeview Centennial High School, which went on to play in the 5A state championship game in Austin. Reese has yet to miss all-state status in three consecutive varsity seasons.
Reese said he's excited about A&M's transition style of play. He'll play point guard, but with Kennedy's system, every guard will have the opportunity to call the plays -- as well as be the go-to scorer.
"Their style of play is up-and-down, and they like to push the ball and get to the lane," Reese said of the Aggies. "I'll play the one [point guard], but the offense is so wide open. Everybody's going to come off ball screens. It's going to be like a different point guard's running the offense every play."
Reese added: "They'll get someone who's a hard worker, someone who likes to win and someone who will listen. I'm ready."