After an illustrious four-year career at Villanova, Scottie Reynolds didn’t go down the typical path of a consensus First Team All-American. Finishing his tenure at ‘Nova second all-time in scoring and leading the Wildcats to a Final Four appearance in ’09 â€“ highlighted by an unforgettable mad-dash game-winner over one-seeded Pittsburgh â€“ Scottie went undrafted in 2010. After a brief stint with Prima Veroli in Italy, he set his sights back on America in hopes of getting the opportunity to play at the next level. Taken 13th overall in the NBA D-League Draft by the Tulsa 66ers, he was then traded to the Springfield Armor. As one of the perennial figures of Villanova Basketball and a current standout in the D-League, we decided there was no one better to turn to for an inside scoop on life in the NBA’s minor league. In his first entry, Scottie talks about life on the road, Dee Brown as a coach and being heckled.
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I just got back from practice, fighting through the snow and it’s still supposed to snow some more. Playing for the Armor is good, even better than what I expected. We have a lot of young guys on the team, first-year guys and having a guy like Dee [Brown] who played in the League, who has a lot of experience in the League, helps us get out there and get better. It also helps that Craig [Brackins] is on the team. He’s definitely the guy I hang out with the most and get along with the most on the team. I’ve known L.D. Williams since he was 16 when we played on the same AAU team. He’s always laughing and joking no matter what the circumstances… I guess that’s why he’s the youngest on the team. He’s a good, intelligent basketball player, and I’ve seen him grow to be a well-rounded player.
I’ve been working hard here, trying to take my game to the next level. The two biggest things I’ve been working on have to be making sure my assist-to-turnover ratio is good and trying to always be on the attack. It’s important to keep my assist numbers high, that’s what I’ve been working on with Coach Dee. I’ve been too passive before, now I’m more aggressive. I had 18 (points) and 13 (assists) one night and I want to get close to that level on a regular basis.
The transition from college to D-League has been fun. It’s a challenge every day but I love it, man! I scored a lot in college and I’m sick of scoring. I’ve done all that. What I’m doing now I never got to do on a consistent basis at Villanova. I like getting 13 assists in a game or nine assists and one turnover. I can’t fall in love with assists though, I have to balance it with points, but I’ve been working on it with Dee. In Villanova, I had Doug West. When you have a guy who is accomplished, you’re going to do what he says. If you don’t, you’re not intelligent, you’re not going to get anywhere. Dee is pretty much always the same, energetic, not too high, not too low. Sometimes he even gets out there and plays 5-on-5 with us. It’s fun.
Understanding how to manage a full 48-minute game has been a big adjustment so far â€“ those extra eight minutes can be very critical in a game. Coach always talks about managing the game. When you’re on a college team for four years, everyone knows what you’re supposed to do and where you’re supposed to be. Guys come in and out of the D-League, so it helps to be more verbal and communicate when you’re on the floor. When you have a guy like Craig who has a high basketball IQ, he plays off of you, so there’s no need to talk a lot. We have a good connection on and off the court â€“ we read each other well. The 24-second shot clock has been a bit of adjustment too. It’s like once you cross halfcourt, you only have like 18 seconds left, so trying to find a good shot in that amount of time can be tough.
The road is tough and the travel isn’t glamorous. We fly out of Hartford all the time and almost always have to connect because there are never direct flights from Springfield! If we go out West, it could be like a 12- to 16-hour trip between having a game from 7:00-10:00pm, leaving Springfield at 3:00am and getting to our hotel before the next game. With different time zones, it can feel like four or five in the morning when you arrive, and then you have to be ready play the next day.
One time, we had to play back-to-back games Friday and Saturday. Our first game went into overtime, and by the time the game was finished, it was like eight hours ’til practice the next day. Plus, there have been a lot of delays with games getting rescheduled because of the weather, so you never know what could happen.
On our second road trip, we got stuck in Fort Wayne because of bad weather, and I only brought enough clothes for three days instead of the five days we were stuck there! I had to start wearing my tights because I didn’t have clean underwear. It was the only thing that was clean! Now I pretty much pack a huge duffle bag, put in four outfits, three sweat-suits and plenty of underwear because I never know when I’m going be home. You gotta make sure to have enough clothes!
I live 30 minutes from UConn, so me and Craig went to the Villanova-UConn game. It was definitely a different experience and I was kind of nervous. As I walked down the steps to my seat, the students at Gampel Pavilion just started heckling me! It was weird because I’ve played with some of them (current Villanova players) for almost four years, and most of them for two or three years, so I just get that feeling of wanting to go out and play with them. I can’t watch the games anymore. Even at home watching a game I find myself going crazy, always yelling at the TV saying they should be doing this or doing that. It was cool to be there, but I don’t know if I’d do it again.
Other than that, I really haven’t visited ‘Nova that much. I tried to kind of stay away and let them create their own identity, because there’s a lot of pressure when it’s on you. Antonio Pena is my good friend there, Fish [Corey Fisher] and [Corey] Stokes too. I pretty much groomed them so I want to see them succeed. Like Kyle Lowry and Randy Foye did for me, I did for them.
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