‘Given the talent to play basketball’

After a breakout 2012-13 season, far right, junior guard Kyle Wiggins is leading the team in points, assists, and steals per game. Center, junior forward Alex North is having the best season of his college career.

The 2013 basketball team featured three players over 6’ 7” that played regularly, that fact, along with the stellar driving ability of All-American guard Will McNeill, gave the Ichabods a very strong inside presence, this years team has just one player over 6’ 6”.

While Stephon Drane has started ten of the team’s 15 games thus far, lately the team has started two players at 6’ 6” and three players even smaller.

With most teams starting at least one player and sometimes two over 6’ 8”, the team has had to rely much more on their outside shooting ability.

After a breakout 2012-13 season, junior guard Kyle Wiggins is leading the team in points, assists, and steals per game. However, because he’s shooting 27 percent from behind the arc, he has had to rely on the outside shooting ability of two players who weren’t on the floor last year to space the floor and give him driving lanes to the basket.

After playing in five games last season before a concussion and knee injury sidelined him for the rest of the year, junior forward Alex North is having the best season of his college career. Even more surprising, however, is the play of junior guard Jeff Reid.

The Topeka, Kan. native played his first two seasons at Washburn Univeristy after transferring from the University of St. Louis where he was redshirted. His sophomore year he was fourth on the team in scoring but he wasn’t enjoying the game as much as he thought he should.

“I had been playing basketball my whole life and got burnt out,” said Reid. “It wasn’t fun for me anymore. I got to the point where I dreaded playing in games.”

The time off might have done him some good. So far this year he’s having his best statistical season as an Ichabod. The sharpshooter is averaging nearly ten points per game and playing bigger than he is. At 6’ 6” and as a natural guard, Reid has been asked to cover forwards for other teams whenever Drane is out of the game and North is covering the opposing team’s center.

Even though he is undersized in those situations, he has played bigger than he is, averaging over six rebounds per contest, good enough for second on the team. His 46 percent three-point field goal percentage is second on the team, behind North, and is a major reason why the team is shooting 40% from behind the arc as a whole.

“My biggest strength is my shooting, but I bring leadership also,” said Reid. “It can be hard for new players to know what Chipman is looking for so I try to help them out and give them advice.”

The sports management major is more than just a spot up shooter though. His contributions without the ball in his hand don’t always show on the box score, but it’s clear why he’s one of only three players to start every game for Washburn this season.

“I try to play with high energy and do the dirty work like rebounding, taking charges, and setting picks to get my teammates open,” he said.

Reid has been a major contributor to the team’s 12-3 start, and with just one senior on the entire roster the young team looks to continue to improve.

“After being away from it for awhile I started to miss it. I missed being with my teammates and missed being apart of something,” said Reid. “I was given the talent to play basketball at a high level and it started to bug me that I was letting my talent go to waste.”