SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Reeves comes into his own for NCHSBy ROBBIE ROBERTSON,
After the last month, Newton County coach Steve Harber wishes he had another year with his grandson Peyton Reeves.
Reeves has burst onto the scene since Christmas to be one of the Cougars’ leading scorers and rebounders, averaging 20 points a game and eight rebounds and helping the Cougars to a 14-6 record as they head toward the post-season.
“Since Christmas, his confidence has gotten a lot better, and everything has just clicked for him,” Harber said. “It’s a shame that he’s a senior because he is one of the younger kids in his classes. I really wish we had him for another year. He has worked his butt off to get better. He doesn’t have a lot of God-given ability but has worked really hard to get better. And you can see all of that finally paying off for him.”
Reeves showed that work ethic this past summer as he spent most of his time in the gym, trying to get in an average of 1,000 shots a day.
“I think I have worked hard,” Reeves said. “I have always felt like I was the underdog, so I felt like I needed to work a little harder. I used to be so scared of what people thought. I was worried people thought I was playing because my grandfather was the coach. But about a month ago, I let all of that go. I was struggling, and my momma told me ‘Just let it go and let God take care of the rest.’ So, before every game, I just think to myself that I need to let it all go and just play the game.”
It’s understandable how Reeves has recently just gained his confidence. It wasn’t until after Christmas last year that he began starting for the Cougars, and that was after a senior quit the team. Up until that point, he had been the first sub off the bench for Harber.
“I think you started to see that he was going to be able to help us the beginning of his junior year,” Harber said. “He got caught up that we had three guys in his grade that had started since the 10th grade. But he was my first guy off the bench last year and then got some starts. So, he’s been starting about a year now and you can just see him getting more confident with every game.”
Reeves’ success shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Reeves said he has been riding the bus to games with his grandfather for years now and often goes with him to scout opponents. Plus, his mother, Brandi, also played for her father, Steve, and played four years of college basketball.
Harber said there is some difference in coaching your grandson and your daughter.
“It was different,” Harber said. “It was different because I went home with Brandi after every game and would have to sit down at the same table with her. Brandi would just let it roll off her where Peyton takes it a little bit more to heart. But the one thing that’s the same is they both have that inner desire to be the best at what they do. They both want to be good at what they do. I know it’s been special to be able to coach them both.”
Because Reeves is a late bloomer, he hasn’t been on the radar of many recruiters.
“He just wants a chance to play somewhere to prove himself,” Harber said. “And the doctors think he still has another two or three inches to grow and he’s a young senior. He’s the kind of kid that I think you are going to look up at in two years and see a 6-7 or 6-8 kid. That’s why I wish I had him another year. It’s just all beginning to come together for him.”
Last year, Reeves mainly played on the wing but this year has spent more time in the post.
“He’s just so valuable down there as a rebounder,” Harber said. “He’s averaging about eight rebounds a game for us. He’s still playing on the wing a good bit though. So now, you’ve got a kid that’s almost 6-5 that can step out and hit a three and can also rebound. That’s why I think he can play at the next level. He has started to get a couple of folks talking to him. Maybe somebody will give him that opportunity.”
Reeves, who is an honor student and has made a 24 on the ACT, said he would like to major in business in college.
“I’m very business oriented,” Reeves said. “My mom owns a store in Decatur, and that has opened my eyes. I want to be an entrepreneur, to make something I like that I can sell to others.”