Reggie Hearn didn't dream he'd ever don the USA Basketball jersey, but he's done so with regularity this year.
“It's been unbelievable,” the Snider graduate said. “Being able to go and play under (former NBA) coach (Jeff) Van Gundy, a very detailed and very meticulous coach, I learned a lot from him. And to be able to be out there representing your country, it's not something I ever really even dreamed about as a kid. So it was very surreal to be out there and have the opportunity.”
Hearn is back with the G League's Reno Bighorns, who lost 106-97 to the Mad Ants on Monday night at Memorial Coliseum, but he wasn't able to suit up because of a sprained ankle.
That was disappointing for the 6-foot-4 forward, who played at Northwestern from 2009 to 2013.
“Absolutely,” he said. “My mom had told me she had gotten a section together of 90, close to 100, people at a discounted rate, which she had done before when I was playing in town. I think a majority of those people are no longer coming since I'm not playing unfortunately. It's disappointing. I would have loved to have been playing, obviously.”
Hearn was with the national team for the FIBA AmeriCup in August, when the U.S. won the gold medal, and he averaged 10 points and 3.6 rebounds in five games. In two World Cup qualifiers in November, he averaged 11.5 points and 6 rebounds.
With the U.S., he's converted 15 of 28 attempts from 3-point range – his forte, he's competed in the G League 3-point contest at the All-Star Game.
“That's a big reason why I was brought in, among other things,” he said. “I definitely knocked down a few shots while I was there (with the national team) and I was just happy to be able to play my role.”
In his five G League seasons, Hearn has averaged 10.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 43 percent field-goal shooting and 40 percent shooting from 3-point range, primarily for Idaho and Reno. This season, he has played only three games because of his time with the national team and the injury, and he has averaged 17.7 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal and made 10 of 24 shots from beyond the arc.
“I feel more confident than ever. I feel like we have a pretty good team and will turn things around,” said Hearn, whose Bighorns are 4-6, while the Mad Ants (9-2) have won 9 of 10.
Despite being only 26, Hearn is one of the oldest and most experienced players on the Reno roster, and he wants to mentor the Sacramento Kings prospects.
“I'm used to the travel, and you've got to keep a spirit of perseverance about you,” Hearn said. “It's a long season, early travel. Some guys have been struggling with that this year, getting up at 4 a.m. sometimes. So I do like to try and be a presence for the guys and try to help them through some of the things they're going through, because I've been through it all.”