College programs were a little slow in appreciating the talents of Antonio Reeves.
The 6-5 Simeon guard had the numbers, physical talent and résumé to warrant more recruiting interest. He emerged as one of the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 10 prospects in his class in Illinois over the course of his senior year, yet the process played out slowly.
And once the coaches of those programs started turning up the heat on one of the more undervalued prospects in Class of 2019 in Illinois, Reeves was patient and deliberate on his end.
As a result, the recruitment took time. But Reeves found his next basketball home and committed to Illinois State and coach Dan Muller on Friday.
“I wanted to make the right choice and make the best decision for me,” says Reeves, who averaged 21.7 points, six rebounds and three assists a game this past season for the Wolverines.
Reeves admits he took his time to decide but says, “I had to get it right.”
He had varying degrees of interest from Wisconsin and took official visits to Illinois State, Southern Illinois and Buffalo this spring.
“The visits really benefitted me in being able to get to know the coaching staffs and all that goes on with the school and basketball program,” says Reeves. “At Illinois State it felt like a family. I connected with the coaches and the players, and they were able to show to me the potential they see in me and how to best use my game and strengths.
“I feel relieved and a lot of weight is off my shoulders.”
Reeves has been a bit of a basketball vagabond during his high school career. He began his career at Kenwood, where he played for two years, and then transferred to Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix for his junior year.
Reeves was a key player for a state championship team that finished 25-2, nationally ranked and coached by former NBA player Mike Bibby. He averaged 14 points and 4.3 rebounds a game before returning to Chicago and Simeon for his senior year.
Each move, Reeves says, helped his development and confidence as a player.
“I was the new player for a new team and I had a lot to prove when I went to Arizona and when I came to Simeon,” says Reeves, who helped Simeon to a sectional title this past season. “Everything was different at each school, including the level of basketball, so I had to learn and I had to push myself to do well at a new place. It made me more aggressive and confident.”
With his still-developing body and growing game, Reeves is the quintessential high-upside perimeter scorer. He has length, skill and shooting range with a soft touch. Reeves continues to get more and more comfortable with the ball in his hands.
“His decision-making and ball-handling really improved with us,” says Simeon coach Rob Smith. “I knew he could shoot the basketball, but he’s more than a shooter. His offensive awareness and being able to score in different ways is impressive.”