Wednesday, August 6, 2014

the recruit: Jarred Reuter

Name: Jarred Reuter
Position: PF
Hometown: Rochester, MA
School: Brewster Academy (NH)
Height: 6'8"
Weight: 235

24/7: 89, three stars; #36 PF, NH #5, US #147
ESPN: 79, three stars; #35 PF, NH #1, East #38
Rivals: three stars
Scout: three stars

Other offers: Iowa, Pittsburgh, Boston College, St. John's, Providence, South Carolina, Rhode Island

This coming season, for the first time in I don't know how long, UVA has a full complement of scholarship players.  And then, only one of them - Darion Atkins - graduates.  This means that for that 2015-2016 season, Tony Bennett could be extremely choosy about whom he extended a scholarship offer to.

Tony sat on those offers for a while, evaluating and evaluating (and truthfully, focusing his efforts mainly on the crucial 2016 class, which is gonna be a really big one), and pulling the trigger on Jarred Reuter near the end of July.  The courtship didn't take long.  Reuter started talking seriously to the UVA coaches around the beginning of the month, and had found his college home scarcely a month later.

Reuter is an interesting story.  First off, he reclassified very early, after his freshman year of high school, and transferred that summer for a fresh start.  (He's since transferred again, but remained in the 2015 class.)  At that time, he was attracting a ton of attention.  Articles from back in 2011, 2012 refer to offers from Indiana and Florida, and IU especially was keeping tabs on him for a long time.  Reuter was headed for the big-time, five stars, Duke, the whole works - that was the feeling then.

This summer, Reuter named a top five of Iowa, Providence, South Carolina, Rhode Island, and UVA.  (That he did so immediately after receiving a UVA offer was a very good sign for the Hoos.)  There are some decent teams there - three of them in the tournament this past year - but it's decidedly not a five-star top five.  What happened?  A few things conspired to leave Reuter in the dust for a while.  First, an injury, which is what compelled him to transfer and reclassify in the first place - his original school required him to play football, and he got hurt doing so.  Second, size, both upwards and outwards.  As a 6'8" freshman, the possibility that he might grow into a 6'10, 6'11" junior was naturally very intriguing.  But instead of adding inches, he added pounds, and not good ones.  By the end of his second freshman year he was up to 250, much of it bad weight that he's since gotten rid of.  Reuter is now basically exactly the same size he was four years ago, though presumably stronger.  Failing to grow is partly what caused some of those early suitors to lose touch.

Here's another thing that's been constant ever since way back when.  Consider the following excerpts from various scouting articles over the past few years:

August 4, 2011 (Rivals): "He has a bullish side. Think a young, yet-to-be refined Tyler Hansbrough."

July 12, 2012 (Rivals): "Watching early videos of Reuter definitely bring memories of Tyler Hansbrough to mind because of the similar size, style and relentless aggression inside the paint."

August 2, 2014 (ESPN): "Reuter's game is similar to that of a poor man's Tyler Hansbrough in that he is a power player inside with a terrific motor."

Just a couple examples there.  There's more where that came from.  OK, so he's Psycho T Jr.  And frankly, it's impossible to miss the theme of physicality in reviewing all the evaluations and articles.  Some of them seem to be trying to outdo each other with flavorful hyperbole, making references to the WWE and knocking heads together and so on and etc.  At that point, you start to get the idea they mean it.  Reuter has also been described as a high-quality passer and screener - and the screener thing is interesting because that, too, has been present in evaluations for a long time, and Reuter himself brought up UVA's screening offense as one reason why he felt like he'd found a fit in Charlottesville.

In terms of a fit on the depth chart, Reuter walks into a crowded situation as a freshman, and may even redshirt.  Mike Tobey and Anthony Gill will be seniors.  So will Evan Nolte, who by then may well have evolved into more of a four than he is now.  Isaiah Wilkins and Jack Salt will have a year under their belt.  Lot of competition, much of it extremely well-entrenched.  (And Tony was up front about this, by the way.)  Afterwards, though, graduation is going to lay a big hit on that depth chart, and Reuter's path will be wide open.  Eight players exist on the future 2016-2017 depth chart (Reuter's sophomore year) and only three of them, Reuter included, are true bigs.

Furthermore, Reuter is likely to be awfully polished by the time he gets here.  The private prep school leagues up in New England are terrifically competitive, and just have a gander at the Brewster Academy roster.  12 players on there, and 10 will be playing D-I basketball.  Georgetown, UCLA, Kansas, Memphis, and so on.  (The only two without a college listed are Reuter and '15 classmate Donovan Mitchell, who is a borderline top-100 prospect and also going to play D-I ball.)  Reuter is already going against some of the very best.

The really fun part is that everyone already thinks that playing UVA is as fun as a root canal.  This has been stamped into the collective consciousness of college hoops.  Welcome to Charlottesville, please check your offense at the door, it will be returned to you on the way out.  Jack Salt already comes with the reputation of a banger. It's been kind of muted because, coming from New Zealand, he's been developing outside the recruiting spotlight, but physical's the word and then some.  In a few years he'll likely be playing alongside Dick Butkus Reuter here, and then we'll go from squeezing the life out of teams to beating it out of them.  Reuter may not ever be a high-powered scoring presence, but if he continues to rebound, do all those semi-invisible things like set screens of crushing death, and leave opponents black and blue in the process, he's likely to be a huge fan favorite when all's said and done.

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