Josh Reaves Ready To Excel After Big Offseason
Josh Reaves was the touted recruit last year, a four-star prospect out of Oak Hill Academy — one of the most prestigious high school basketball programs in the country that has churned out NBA stars like Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, and Ty Lawson.
The freshman guard started a good portion of the season, but flew under the radar with the likes of veterans Brandon Taylor and Shep Garner leading the team. His lowest point came in January, when he missed six games dealing with mononucleosis.
After the season ended, Reaves made it his mission to get bigger, stronger, and faster to be able to compete with the powerful players of the Big Ten. He gained 20 lbs and has improved his fitness to take his game to the next level.
“I was pretty much just lifting, conditioning, and all that stuff,” Reaves said. “I tried to put on more weight, I took that very seriously. I tried to win every competition, every drill, every sprint. No matter what it was, I was trying to be in the front.”
Coach Pat Chambers took notice of that effort this offseason. Reaves decided to work with the Nittany Lions all of summer to be ready for the season. The sixth-year Penn State coach went as far as to name Reaves the MVP of summer and fall practices.
“He’s been our MVP,” Chambers said. “He did not like sitting out the month of January and when you look back, that definitely hurt us. But, he said ‘I have to put on the weight to be able to play at a high-level in the Big Ten and to take care of my body.’ So he sacrificed his summer and this fall he has been tremendous.”
One of the big changes Pat Chambers is implementing for this season is utilizing an up-tempo offense designed to get the Nittany Lions more scoring opportunities compared to their work the clock, low-possession style from last year.
Reaves, like many of the other players, is excited for the chance to move into this quicker style of play. For one, he’s had the chance to play an up-tempo style in the past. His conditioning from the offseason will also be a factor with the new offense.
“We have a lot of talent, a lot of speed, athleticism and that just plays into our advantage,” Reaves said. “The stronger that I am and the more contact I can take, that’s going to really help me take contact and finish. And also on defense. I know it seems like we’re kind of small, but the stronger and more athletic we are, the more positions we can play.”
As a guy who played a decent role within the team last season, he’s going to be expected to step up with a young group. His work ethic has impressed his coaches and teammates, which is the first step to advancing his game on the court for the upcoming season.
With the drive he’s shown these past couple months, Chambers is confident he can take it to the next level once the season begins.
“He has just taken care of business,” Chambers said. “He’s sacrificing sleep, he’s sacrificing hangout time with his friends and he has committed to getting in the gym and weight room, and changing who he is, mind and body.”