One of the things that always gets lost on me with the end of each season (okay, in all fairness it did not happen last year - but I graduated with those guys) is the fact that the seniors have played their last game in a Villanova Wildcats uniform. No disrespect meant to Reggie, but it only dawned on me a couple of days ago that he was done at 'Nova.
But now I've remembered, and to be honest, I already miss the guy. He had some moments that made your jaw drop - of both good and bad variety. He had his stretches that made us think he was an All-BIG EAST guy, and he had his moments that made us question his appearance on the court.
But through it all, Reggie was a warrior in the end. Most of you will say it was more bad than good, and you're entitled to your opinions. But I believe Redding embodied a lot of what Villanova basketball is about -- character over talent. His junior year was phenomenal, and he was a key reason why Villanova made the Final Four.
So Reggie, Godspeed -- and this Bud's for you!
Reggie Redding had an, uh, interesting career at Villanova. He wasn't a high-profile recruit coming into school, but he was a local Philly kid, and I still remember breaking down his film with my friends thinking we had a diamond in the rough. Reggie came in billed as all-offense, no defense. Scouts raved about his shooting. So naturally, he shot 17.5% from downtown his freshman year. Still puzzling to me.
Even through the offensive woes, Reggie still got just under 16 minutes a game his freshman, which was much more than anyone expected. Even early on in his career, you could see he embraced what the program was about. He scrapped, he battled, and he didn't act like a prima-donna on the court. His personality was perfect for the program.
He raised his game during his sophomore year, a year many considered to be the 'down year' for the program's last 5-6 years. His stats went up in every single category (except for FT% - but we'll just ignore that). He put up a career-best 1.84 assist/turnover ratio and began to look like the glue-guy that everyone around the country would come to know him as.
And then his junior season came. I'll be honest, I completely overlooked him in my season preview for that year. I looked back today and I wrote "anything we get out of him is a plus for this year's team." Couldn't have been more wrong. That team will always be defined by Dante Cunningham, Shane Clark, Dwayne Anderson, and the Scottie Reynolds miracle, but Reggie Redding was the absolute unsung hero of not just that tourney run, but the entire season. The signature regular season win over the then-#3 Pittsburgh Panthers at home? Reggie had arguably the best game of his career.
And that's what I believe derailed his senior season. Call it a stupid decision, call it bad luck, call it whatever you want. I don't think he ever got over what happened over the summer. He just didn't look like the same guy we saw the year before. He had some very good games, and some very bad ones, like all players do. But he still played hard, and that's all you can ask for.
I've hung out with Reggie a few times and I can vouch he's a great guy. And I'm proud to have known him in his time at Villanova. Best of luck to you in the future Reg!
I leave you with a very good highlight reel from his junior season.
Villanova Guard Reggie Redding 08-09 Highlights Mix (via VillanovaBasketball)