Saying thanks to Scottie

I’m not smart enough to know whether Scottie Reynolds is good enough to play in the NBA. Right now, or ever. I know what I see, and what I hear. And in my opinion, he’s not ready yet. And may never be. And that’s OK. Because in my book, he’s one of the favorite people I’ve ever had the privilege to cover. So I’m pulling for him, even though I’ll miss him dearly when he’s gone. Whether that’s now or after his senior season at Villanova.

What makes Scottie great is the way he handles himself. At least around us, the media. He’s always there. It doesn’t matter if he shot 9-for-10, or went 4-for-15. He’s always thoughtful, insightful, honest. We can’t ask for any more.

And as far as being a teammate, I don’t think Jay Wright could ask for anything more. Kelvin Sampson’s screw-up at Oklahoma was the best thing that could have ever happened to the Main Line. As a college player, you won’t find many better. No, he’s not first-team all-Big East. So what? The conference has some pretty good talent, last time I looked. He could play for my squad any time. I’m sure Jay Wright wouldn’t trade him for too many others. If he does come back, he’s going to score over 2,000 points. Easily. That’s not too shabby. Yet there are always going to be those who criticize him for what he supposedly isn’t. And that’s a shame.

I’m just not sure how well Scottie’s game translates to the next level. But I’ve been wrong before. And I hope I’m wrong again. Because that’s his dream, as it should be. You always want to see the good people succeed. So maybe he’ll make it there. Or maybe he’ll play overseas for the next decade or so, which isn’t a horrible option. I just wish him the best, because he deserves it.

From a selfish standpoint, I wouldn’t mind seeing him hang around for one more year. Because he’s fun to watch, and a pleasure to be around. And makes all our jobs easier. But it’s not about us. It’s about a young man who’s well grounded, and his future. He’s doing the right thing. He has nothing to lose by testing the waters. Maybe he’ll find out that the interest just isn’t there. Or he’ll be told what he needs to do to make it a year from now. Or maybe he’ll have the kind of workouts and interviews that will make one team, or even more than one, want him immediately. Because all it takes is one. And knowing Scottie, I wouldn’t put it past him to surprise us all.

If the worst thing that happens is he plays here as a senior, then it is indeed a win-win for him. And who would ever question the motivation. He’d be a fool not to take advantage of this opportunity. It could make him a lot of money. I simply hope he doesn’t wind up leaving his name in the pool, and then either doesn’t get drafted or ends up going to a franchise where the prospects just aren’t in his favor.

Whatever happens, now or 12 months down the road, I’ll always carry the picture of him taking a pass from Dante Cunningham near midcourt against Pitt in the East Regional final, dribbing four times and making that short jumper in traffic to send Villanova to the final weekend for the first time in a quarter-century.

I’m hardly alone.

So how exactly do you say thanks?