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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Summer trip to Argentina changes basketball player’s perspectiveS

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Sophomore Erik Reynolds II shoots a free throw at a St. Joe’s men’s basketball game. PHOTO: MADELINE WILLIAMS ’26/THE HAWK

Over the course of a week from Aug. 3-10, St. Joe’s sophomore guard Erik Reynolds II was part of a collective which played six games in Argentina against several clubs.

One on One Basketball Inc. out of Washington, D.C. sets up opportunities for area players in college and high school, which included Reynolds, who is from Temple Hills, Maryland.

One thing Reynolds did not prepare for was the winter weather in the Southern Hemisphere.

“I realized how much I under packed for that type of weather,” Reynolds said.

Bruce Kelley, boys head varsity coach at the Bullis School, a top hoops prep school in Potomac, Maryland, that Reynolds attended, was coach of the One on One team. According to Kelley, the team played in an environment they were not familiar with.

“Every single facility we played in had either broken windows, open doors or just a roof with the outdoor air coming in.” Kelley said. “It was not a closed-off venue.”

Kelley said the buildings they played in served as community centers for the towns, and the team would arrive and witness various community activities and club sports occur before their games.

“These guys are all from [the DC area] and many of them played private school ball and go to fine schools,” Kelley said. “I think them experiencing what players from other countries [are subjected to play on] the courts, the facilities, and the club component of their sports system was enlightening for our players.”

Reynolds said despite the weather, he enjoyed the trip to Argentina for the cultural aspects as well.

“It was amazing,” Reynolds said. “I would really like to go back.”

Reynolds said he wanted to pace himself better on the floor and improve the speed of his decision-making during the offseason. One benefit of the games in Argentina? Defenses switching frequently.

“My biggest thing was just to change my pace and really let things come to me,” Reynolds said. “I can read things a lot better instead of feeling rushed.”

According to Reynolds, pacing himself allowed the game to slow down, and he is now able to put his teammates in the best positions possible.

“It helped me realize how much more I need to use my voice this year than I did last year,” Reynolds said. “So it definitely put me in a great position to definitely be more of a leader.”

St. Joe’s Head Coach Billy Lange said Reynolds’ willingness to learn has allowed him to elevate his game to be the focal point of the offense.

“He’s a guy that really wants to please his teammates,” Lange said. “Sometimes that means you’re gonna have to make a mistake and not feel like you’re letting people down.”

According to Lange, Reynolds has significantly improved in the weight room and made tweaks to improve his jump shot.

“We spend a lot of time teaching these guys how to play and developing their individual skills as guards,” Lange said. “I think he shows he’s willing to learn every day.”

Kelley said that Reynolds was a good player entering high school, but he was not a highly sought-after name until he developed at Bullis.

“While he was here, people tried to poach him away,” Kelley said. “But he stayed with us.”

Kelley and Lange commend Reynolds for his humility both on and off the court.

Kelley said that Reynolds helped one of his teammates, Amherst College sophomore center Will Scherer, improve by feeding the ball and encouraging him to get involved on offense.

“I don’t think Will Scherer ever had a player of Erik’s magnitude encourage him or believe in him,” Kelley said. “Erik’s greatest 

contribution might have been getting Will to believe in himself.”

Kelley said he was curious to see if Reynolds was still the same person off the court that he was while he attended Bullis. According to Kelley, he has not changed a bit.

“He is the humble superstar,” Kelley said.

According to Lange, Reynolds is as respected as anyone in the program.

“He’s gracious. He’s unselfish. He’s respectful,” Lange said. “He doesn’t think he’s more important than anyone.”

Lange said Reynolds is not afraid to keep the team accountable for their on court results, as well as the way they approach practice every day.

“When you go through a program for 18 to 24 months, you start to take hold of the locker room,” Lange said. “He holds himself to a high standard of accountability. So he doesn’t have a problem doing it to other people, but he always does it in a respectful way.”

Reynolds playing in Argentina gave him more than just an opportunity to improve as a basketball player. It also gave him memories with friends that he’ll never forget, noting that some One on One teammates were old friends — collectively able to laugh about the cold temperatures and play good basketball.

“So those are the little things,” said Reynolds. “It wasn’t really anything huge, but just like the little moments that kind of added up a lot for me. That’s what I appreciated.”

This article was first published by the Philadelphia Inquirer on March 14, 2023 as part of the Inquirer’s college correspondent program.

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