Welcome to the Stories from America series, featuring analysis from Match TV and Viasat Sport commentator Viktor Shestopalov on the VTB League’s most fascinating foreign players. First up: Zenit guard Scottie Reynolds, one of the best players to ever wear a Villanova jersey.
Americans love stats. They are truly obsessed. Every year during the NCAA tournament, fans gobble up hundreds of rankings, mock brackets and predictions, indulging a seemingly endless appetite for more info and statistical analysis. Of course, there are some more traditional ways of measuring player performances, such as the coveted All-American awards handed out at the end of each season.
Typically, each of the 10 players selected to the First and Second All-American Teams are picked in that summer’s NBA Draft and go on to sign juicy contracts. It’s extremely rare for a First Team All-American to be passed over by NBA scouts. But that’s what happened to Zenit point guard Scottie Reynolds.
After four years at Villanova, Reynolds wasn’t selected in the 2010 NBA Draft, becoming the first First Team All-American since the NBA’s merger with the ABA in 1976 to go undrafted. Reynolds did play in the Summer League, but the Phoenix Suns decided not to offer him a contract, forcing him to look abroad for playing time. Over the past seven seasons, Reynolds has played in the Philippines, Italy, Turkey, Czech Republic, Israel, Croatia and Russia–a true world traveler by age 30.
Let’s do a little scouting and try to figure out why such a talented player like Scottie Reynolds didn’t make it in the NBA as a point guard.
I worked a lot of Villanova games in the late 2000’s and haven’t forgotten how good Scottie was on the court. He was a complete player with no weaknesses and a wonderful feel for the game. Believe me, ladies and gentlemen: Reynolds could do everything on the court, from a no-look pass, to finishing a contested layup, to executing on the fast break.
Villanova’s system under coach Jay Wright also included extended stretches full-court pressure. Reynolds was key to the strategy, terrorizing opponents from baseline to baseline.
Despite these many strengths, Reynolds had one flaw, which, I believe, prevented him from making the NBA. Over the past several years, I’ve referred it to as the Teodosic Syndrome. I think you know what I’m referring to, but in case any non-CSKA fans don’t understand, let me explain. I’m talking about when a star player is unable to consistently deliver in big moments. Reynolds didn’t have the killer instinct ala Kobe Bryant needed to become an elite combo guard. Yes, he did sink one clutch layup to send Villanova to the Final Four in 2009, but on average he struggled to shine when the game was on the line.
Being an undersized guard also hurt his chances of cracking an NBA roster. Reynolds stands 185-cm tall, which isn’t terrible, but he’s not quick enough to shut down lightning-quick point guards and too small to defend against bigger shooting guards and small forwards. Combined with a shaky three-point shot, Reynolds presented a few too many question marks for NBA teams.
On the other hand, there’s a definite silver lining to Reynolds missing on the NBA, as fans throughout Europe and around the globe have been introduced to the Villanova legend. He’s a pro’s pro and a student of the game. There’s no doubt Reynolds will be remembered as a winner, no matter where he plays.