At times, Davon Reed seemed to be a man among boys during his stellar career with the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team.
Starring from day one as a freshman in 2009, Reed led the team in scoring every year and totaled a program-record 2,102 points in leading the Panthers to three state Prep B title games.
Heading south to the University of Miami this winter to continue his basketball career Reed has been forced to man up in order to keep pace in the high-powered ACC.
“I have always played hard but here you have to play that much harder,” said Reed. “The players are more athletic and physical and they are much tougher.”
While going through the bumps in the road that inevitably come with a freshman season, Reed proved tough enough to thrive at the D-I level, starting 10 games for the Hurricanes and averaging 6.5 points and 1.7 rebounds a game.
For Reed, getting on the floor in the opener against St. Francis Brooklyn on November 8 was a special moment.
“It was exciting to play my first college game even though we didn’t get a win and I didn’t have the best game,” said Reed, who scored 3 points in 18 minutes of action as the Hurricanes fell 66-62. “It was something I was very grateful about.”
A week later, Reed had a breakthrough moment, scoring 11 points in an 84-69 win over Texas Southern.
“That was one of my first games with a higher scoring day,” said Reed, who shot 4-of-8 from the floor in the game. “As the season went on, I got more confidence even with the ups and downs.”
Playing at point guard rather than his natural shooting guard position ended up being a confidence builder for Reed.
“I just wanted to do what I could to get on the floor,” said Reed, who ended up with 37 assists on the season. “I am not a natural No. 1 but I have handled the ball my whole career. I enjoyed it and it really helped my ball-handling improve.”
Reed acknowledges that he hit a down stretch when Miami got into conference action.
“When ACC play started, I kind of struggled a little bit,” said Reed. “I wouldn’t say it was the intensity level. It was just a new set of teams and bigger games. Once I started playing freely, I had some good games.”
In reflecting on his debut campaign, Reed is proud to have produced some highlight games.
“I remember big scoring nights like against Arizona State (19 points) and Syracuse (16 points),” said Reed.
“I would like to say that one of my special ones was the Florida State game when I came in late and changed the way the game was going for us. That was a big win.”
While Miami didn’t get as many wins as it would have hoped, posting an overall record of 17-15, Reed is optimistic about the program’s future prospects.
“This year was definitely a rebuilding year,” said Reed. “Even though the W-L record didn’t show it, there were a lot of games that could have we could have won but we didn’t get the bounces. We still made a lot of progress.”
Over the course of the winter, Reed made plenty of progress individually. “I think as the season went on I continually became more confident,” said Reed.
“Even if there were some things I couldn’t do, I can work on those in the offseason. Some of my decision-making got better and the 3-ball was good for me.”
Reed is looking forward to putting his nose to the grindstone in the offseason.
“I want to get bigger, stronger, faster and handle the physical aspect,” said the 6’6, 208-pound Reed, who raised his bench press to 250 pounds from 175.
“I want to be more consistent with my jump shot and be a better ball-handler. Defense was one of my strong points and I want to continue that.”
Reed’s experience at PDS gave him a strong foundation for excelling off the court.
“I had a pretty good first semester and I am doing better this semester,” said Reed.
“I have had a good year academically, there has been lots of balancing between the basketball and the books. Going to a school like PDS has helped me with time management.”
All in all, Reed had the time of his life this winter as he achieved his goal playing big-time college basketball.
“I didn’t know what school I was going to go to but I wanted to play in the ACC where you go out every game and compete against the best of the best,” said Reed. “I thank God that I have the chance to play the game that I love at this level.”