Is Scottie Reynolds the most "clutch" player in college basketball?
Clutch is a term that is used to refer to individual athletes who turn in a brilliant performance in high-pressure situations. It is a term that is discussed after every buzzer-beater or walk-off home run. While "clutch" is not always a last-second play, it is always above and beyond what you would normally expect. Nobody expects the half-court buzzer-beater just as nobody expects a near-perfect shooting performance in the face of a swarming defense. The definition of the term is one thing, but the test is another.
What is the test? It's a simple question: In the waning moments of a tight game, which player do you want to have the ball in his hands?
For the Lakers that players is Kobe. For Bruce Pearl's Tennessee Volunteers it was an unheralded walk-on player. For the best part of the last few seasons Villanova has trusted Scottie Reynolds with the ball in those spots.
It would be tough to deny that Scottie is the most "clutch" Villanova basketball player (and to be fair, if we opened it up to all men's sports, the football team would have a few candidates for "clutchest). While other players have had their star performances and have come through with big games and high averages, Scottie Reynolds is the player your eyes focus on when the game is on the line.
Last year we saw the magic at it's peak in the Elite Eight; A close game against conference foe Pittsburgh, Scottie came up with the ball while running an in-bounds play that had never worked in practice, and drove in to the basket to make a game-winning shot with only seconds left. This year, Scottie has kept the magic alive with big performances against Marquette and Louisville.
If it was going to take 36 points to beat Louisville, Scottie would score them. If it required him to shoot a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc and an absurd 9-for-10 from the floor, that's just what he'd have to do.
We can debate endlessly the quality of his play as a point guard, but what is not up for debate is the intensity of his desire to win. Quitting just doesn't seem to be an option for Reynolds.
Is there any other player in college basketball right now who exhibits that level of "clutchiness"? John Wall? Skylar McBee? There are certainly a number of stars that shine brightly throughout the college ranks, but who else rises to the occasion so often? If you had a backcourt with Scottie Reynolds and John Wall, who would you want to take the last shot?
After watching Scottie's magic act over and over again, I think I would trust him with that shot every time.