Reynolds Emerging for 'Nova

By David Scott - January 23, 2007

PROVIDENCE – Scottie Reynolds, from Herndon, Virginia, wound up on the Main Line of Philadelphia instead of on the plains of Oklahoma. A McDonald’s All-American his senior year at Herndon High School, Reynolds was signed, sealed and delivered to the Sooner program and coach Kelvin Sampson.

But when Sampson became the head coaching property of Indiana University, Reynolds was left downtrodden, disappointed and desiring a change.

“It was definitely disappointing on all sides, from the coaching side with Coach Sampson, and the players side with guys I met there,“ said Reynolds, 19. “But you know it’s just something you have to deal with. I’m happy right now trying to help this team win. Now I know it’s a new beginning, it’s a new chapter in my life.”

The book containing those chapters got a bit thicker on Tuesday night as Villanova won, 82-73, over Providence, on the road to even its Big East record at 3-3 (14-5 overall). Reynolds led all scorers with 20 points (14 in the second half) on 7 of 14 from the field and 2 of 4 from 3-point land. He also had three rebounds, six assists and, a very freshmanesque nine turnovers.

“That’s a freshman, man,“ laughed his coach, Jay Wright. “I think that’s something we have to live with this year. When we played at West Virginia he had (fewer) turnovers (five), but was a little bit crazier, believe it or not.“

The fact that Wright can laugh about Reynolds accounting for nine of the team’s 19 turns, tells you all you need to know about the prodigious talent blossoming in Philly.

“He’s a really good player down the stretch,” said Wright. “You want him on your side.”

The coach of the other side on this night, Tim Welsh, agreed.

“He’s a hell of a player,” said Welsh. “He really looks to score and he and (senior guard Mike) Nardi feed off each other well. Reynolds made some huge shots. He backs you up and he takes you off the dribble and he stops in transition and shoots a 22-footer, that’s a tough defend. He’s so good off the dribble, then he starts making shots, he’s really good.”

Nardi went for 16 in the first 20 minutes, but was held in check in the second half (finishing with 19 for the game). But Reynolds stepped up his game with several momentum busting field goals, including two lay-ups on back-to-back possessions midway through the second half that prevented Providence from getting closer than five points.

“It was me knocking down shots and him finding me in the first half,” said Nardi, the senior leader with the sweet shot and heady game. “And then they keyed on me in the second half, which opened up the floor for him.

“He doesn’t look like a freshman and he’s not playing like one either,” said Nardi. “He’s doing a good job of going out there and playing with a lot of confidence and I think he knows and understands that we need him to do it. We love the way that he’s playing.”

“I don’t really look at (the turnovers),” said Reynolds, who has now had 20 or more points in four of his past six games. “I know I had some bad ones, but I thought some were from me just trying to be aggressive and attack the basket. Once you make a turnover, you have to throw out of your head and go onto the next play.”

Said Nardi, “He’ll learn from that when we go back and watch film. Some of them were aggressive plays. We’ll fix that, but again, you’ve got to have that confidence out there and he’s got it. He’s handling the ball a lot and if he’s going to make aggressive mistakes you can live with that.”

Especially when those mistakes lead to 20 point outbursts and flashes of brilliance.

Posted by David Scott at 10:17 PM on January 23, 2007

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