Of the Big East underclassmen to declare for the 2016 NBA Draft, Xavier forward Jalen Reynolds was perhaps the biggest surprise.
NBA Draft 2016
NBA Draft 2016
We all knew Henry Ellenson would be leaving. We had a strong feeling about Isaiah Whitehead and Ben Bentil. Reynolds, on the other hand, averaged 9.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in his junior season at Xavier. While those numbers are solid, one more season may have really put him over the top.
Regardless, Reynolds made his decision, so let’s take a look at some of his biggest strengths and weaknesses.
While 6.4 rebounds per game was just 12th in the Big East last season, Reynolds was still one of the nation’s premier defensive rebounders. His DR% (The percentage of available defensive rebounds a player grabbed while he was on the court) of 23.9% was 65th in the nation for the 2015-16 season, and 24.6% was 35th in the nation for the 2014-15 season.
Throughout his time at Xavier, Reynolds was responsible for some furious dunks. Here’s one from the 2015 NCAA Tournament against Arizona. Here’s one from the 2016 NCAA Tournament against Weber State. Finally, here’s one from Reynolds’ final collegiate game in the 2016 NCAA Tournament against Wisconsin. While dunking isn’t exactly a skill NBA scouts are looking at, if Reynolds can crack a roster and throw down one or two of these dunks, he’ll keep his name fresh in people’s minds.
Reynolds was able to succeed at Xavier, largely, because he was 6’10" and 230 pounds in a conference that wasn’t exactly brimming with big men in the past couple seasons. It’s going to be very tough, if not impossible, for Reynolds to be able to succeed in the NBA on size alone, because he’ll go from being one of the tallest players to just another player. If he can get drafted into a good organization that can develop big men, it will be a blessing for him.
While it’s unlikely Reynolds is one of the 60 players taken in the NBA Draft, it would be surprising for a team to not bring him into their summer camp and see if they can’t work on honing his skillset.
Ultimately, though, I think Jalen Reynolds will have a very successful career in Europe.