FORT WAYNE – IPFW coach Tony Jasick might have gotten more than he bargained for when he landed freshman recruit Joe Reed.
It’s not as though the 6-foot-7 forward from Center Grove was a basketball unknown. He was honorable mention on the senior all-state team and was being courted by some notable mid-major schools that included Miami of Ohio, Toledo, Belmont and tonight’s opponent, IUPUI (5-10).
It’s just that when Jasick got Reed on campus and started to get a closer look at what he had, well, Jasick was more than pleased.
I hate to say the word pleasantly surprised,’ but I thought he was further along Day 1 than maybe we thought, Jasick said.
Then got banged up and had a hard time with his ankle for, gosh, I felt a month and a half, and that really hampered him a little bit. But now he’s getting back into the flow. He’s getting back to 100 percent, and I think we’ll get a chance to see what he can do over longer stretches.
Reed has avoided the end-of-the-bench position that is often assigned to true freshmen. Reed has played in all but one of IPFW’s 13 games, averaging 3.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
It began when the Mastodons (6-7) visited Auburn, Ala., where Reed had 10 rebounds in his debut.
He had a dozen rebounds and five points against Texas-Pan American, then scored 14 points in the 92-22 rout of Judson. And in the Mastodons’ 74-62 loss at Notre Dame, Reed stepped out and buried a pair of three-pointers.
It gave me a little bit of a boost in confidence, knocking down some shots, but I’ve got to realize I’m going to have to do both sides, Reed said. I thought, defensively, I’ve got to play with more effort the whole time. We’ve got great guys who can sub in for me, so I’ve got to go harder for shorter periods a little bit more.
Jasick says this has been a learning process for Reed and the other Mastodons who haven’t been through the Summit League grinder.
There is a learning process with the way you travel, in terms of being gone for four or five days; the practice on the road in between two games, Jasick said. It’s nothing that we don’t face anything that everybody in our league doesn’t face, but until you learn it, until you go through it, it is an adjustment.
And now Reed is trying to adjust.
The pair of three-pointers against Notre Dame? Not bad. But the Mastodons’ coaches want to see that kind of scoring from closer range. That, too, has been part of the learning curve.
They said I’ve been a little timid down there, so I’m going to try to look to score from the post and try not to turn the ball over as much, Reed said.
Still, Jasick knows what he has now.
I think the thing about Joe Reed is you can count on him, Jasick said. I feel that if Joe Reed goes in the game, there’s only one thing he’s worried about, and that’s trying to win the game. You would say that should come natural to everybody, but we all know that’s not the case. He’ll try his absolute hardest to do exactly what he’s supposed to do and try to win the game.