This marks the 30th anniversary of USA TODAY recognizing the nation's top high school athletes. As we prepare to unveil the 2013 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Basketball Team at the end of the season, we'll dig into the archives and check in with ALL-USA honorees from the past three decades. Today, we catch up with 1986 Player of the Year J.R. Reid.
It has been only 13 years since J.R. Reid played in the NBA, but to the players he coaches at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Va., his connection to the league is a grainy YouTube video.
"When I started coaching here last year, I don't think the players knew who I was," says Reid, the 1986 American Family Insurance ALL-USA high school basketball Player of the Year. "It was kind of funny. No one likes to talk about themselves, but when I first started here, I told them a little bit about my background and told them, 'You can ask your mom and dad to Google me.' I think their parents knew me a little. Then, the players came back and said, 'Coach Reid, the same way you showed us that move is the way you did it on YouTube.'"
The 6-foot-9 Reid was a dominant power forward at Kempsville (Virginia Beach, Va.) and a consensus All-American at North Carolina. He played 11 seasons in the NBA, averaging 8.5 points and 5.0 rebounds a game. He also played three seasons in Europe, playing in France early in his career and then for two seasons in France and Spain after his NBA career was over.
Today, he splits his time between coaching the big men at Patrick Henry and doing weekly video segments with the Atlantic Coast Conference Digital Network. Though he said he would eventually like to work with an NBA team, he said there may be more opportunities for him in broadcasting, which was his major at North Carolina. He watches a lot of ACC basketball for his job. He's also active on Twitter at @jrreid7. Both of his jobs keep him connected to his sport.
"I have a love for this game that has been so good to me," Reid says. "I have so much knowledge to give to people and these young players especially. Patrick Henry had an opening and I wanted to have an opportunity to show what I can do as a coach."
Reid said he found out about the opportunity at ACC Digital through the help of former Tar Heel Kenny Smith, who is an NBA basketball analyst, primarily with TNT.
"I have been blessed to play at the highest levels of basketball and now I have an opportunity to do this," Reid says. "It's like I hit a home run and am up to bat again."
Though Martinsville may seem remote, it's only 2 1/2 hours from Charlotte, N.C., where he does his segments for ACC Digital. Charlotte is only a half hour from Rock Hill, S.C., where his son Jaylen Reid is a 6-8 senior small forward.
"He's working real hard," Reid says. "He's getting looks from mid-majors."
Watching his son go through the recruiting process shows Reid how much has changed since he was in high school. Though he was heavily recruited, the offers didn't start rolling in until he played well at a Five-Star basketball camp.
"It's so different," Reid says. "I played on Boo Williams' first AAU team. The local dealership gave Boo four Oldsmobile Cutlesses for the team to get tournaments in. I think I was driving and didn't have my license yet. Now Boo has a million-dollar complex. Back then, we had to go to camps to get noticed. Now, players have their own Web pages."
Follow Jim Halley on Twitter @jimhalley.