Reynolds Ready To Deliver: Why You Should Believe In Avtodor's New Signing

Avtodor just signed a contract with guard Scottie Reynolds. In an exclusive VTB-League.com feature, Artem Komarov profiles the Saratov newcomer and asks fans to believe in the American with an unusual history.


January 2015. I'm on the first floor of Samara's MTL Arena, sitting across from Krasnye Krylia guard Scottie Reynolds. He's just admitted to me that Krylia isn't a significant milestone in his career, but rather a stepping stone that will help him climb higher. I can sympathize: at an exhibition game in Italy, fans unfurled a massive banner with him posing as Will Smith in the film, I Am Legend. People believed in him and loved him even before the season began. Meanwhile, in Russia, Reynolds plays in front of a few hundred fans and waits patiently, month after month, for his paycheck.

No one knows it yet, but he will get his promotion a few days later. Reynolds doesn't think long, quickly packing his bags and trading Samara for Turkish club Besiktas. Within six months, his former club disappears.

But something didn't quite click after the promotion, and Reynolds's career got stuck in neutral. After Turkey, he returned to Italy, then moved to Israel. The guard tried desperately to find his game, but all he found were new teams.

This summer, the American once again found himself in Russia at Avtodor Saratov. Soon to be 29, it's probably too late to talk about relaunching a career, but something about this guy always makes you believe.

Why? Let's work our way backwards.


Reynolds set all sorts of records in high school and was named three-time Virginia Player of the Year. At Villanova University, he quickly became a fixture in the starting lineup his freshman season. Reynolds won Rookie of the Year in the Big East and scored 40 points in a game against UConn, the most points ever scored by one player against the vaunted program.

At the time, Villanova was not among college basketball's elite. The team struggled to make the NCAA Tournament in his first two seasons, but a breakthrough junior campaign saw the Wildcats reach the Final Four and boost Reynolds's draft stock. Expected to go in the top-10, Reynolds decided to return to school. Who knows how often he's regretted that decision as he went undrafted after his senior season.

Reynolds set off to trot the globe, ending up in Samara via Italy, Israel, and the Czech Republic. Lots happened, including some less than spectacular performances, but in his first game for Krylia, Reynolds dropped 24 against Nymburk. Only a few months earlier, the Czech club had cut Reynolds, whom they said did not measure up to the level of talent on the team. His next time out, Scottie erupted for 31 points on six 3-pointers. Clearly, Nymburk was the one that needed to do some measuring up.

Six months later, Reynolds left Samara and ever since, he's been searching for the right fit. Fate brought him to Avtodor in late summer. You'll get the rest of the story over the course of the season. But, as I said before, we are going in reverse.


After setting Virginia hoops on fire, Reynolds never expected to play for Villanova. He signed with Oklahoma, attracted to head coach Kelvin Sampson. But Sampson jumped to Indiana at the last minute and couldn't bring Reynolds with him.

Scottie says that when Sampson called and told him about his departure, he couldn't say a word. "I just listened. I couldn't say anything. I don't think I answered at all," remembers Reynolds.

But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Villanova coach Jay Wright had been in mourning for a month, ever since he heard that Reynolds had decided on his future. Wright had first seen Reynolds by accident, coming to watch another player, but ever since then couldn't stop picturing Scottie on his team.

With Oklahoma out of the picture, Wright was willing to do whatever it took to get Reynolds on the roster. Even Michigan couldn't beat out Villanova for the prized recruit.

You already know what came next. Let's keep working back.


Scottie Reynolds was born in Alabama. It's not the wealthiest state in America. If people could pick where to be born, I doubt anyone would pick Alabama. Having a baby at age 15 and leaving it in the hospital is a typical story in Alabama. That's what happened to Scottie.

When I ask him about it, Reynolds stops looking at me and stares at the floor. Then he raises his eyes and clarifies that he's not angry at his mother and understands she simply didn't have another choice. They even communicate sometimes.

In any case, everything turned out well for Scottie. He was adopted by Rick and Pam Reynolds, who also have their own biological children. He grew up in a big family and feels like he'll never be able to repay his adopted parents for what they did.

Rick Reynolds disagrees, saying his adopted son repaid his debt long ago. "Waching him play and grow up, the emotions are indescribable," says his dad. "Several times, I've sent him messages that simply say, 'Thank you for the delight we get from watching you.'"


Avtodor signed a contract with the man who delivers this delight, and Saratov fans will be the next recipients. Fate is either testing Reynolds, or rewarding him for his tenacity. It's been a lot of the former ever since Krasnye Krylia. Why shouldn't he get to reap some rewards in Saratov?

This article could have been about why it's neat that Reynolds is back in the League for the third time, and how his quick, intelligent play meshes well with Vladimir Rodionov's club. But you could say that about anyone Avtodor signs. Sure, maybe it's too late to talk about relaunching a career, but something about this guy always makes you believe.

Artem Komarov