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On Target

Home-schooled Reed Makes Inside Presence Felt

Joe Reed is the first home-schooled player to be coached by Randy Albrecht.
Joe Reed is the first home-schooled player to be coached by Randy Albrecht.

With more than 35 years at St. Louis Community College, there aren’t many “firsts” that head coach Randy Albrecht recently has encountered in his job. However, freshman forward Joe Reed has established himself in that category this season, holding the distinction of the first home-schooled player to play for Albrecht.

Reed, a 6-6 forward, showed up at Forest Park last winter and crossed paths with the Archers’ coach during the fall semester. Since he was taking classes at Forest Park at the time, Reed was able to practice a handful of times with the Archers before officially joining the team this year.  With his previous basketball experience, including AAU competition and church leagues, the freshman knew he had plenty to learn this year, but has taken quickly to his coaching staff.

“We just hit it off right away,” Reed said of the initial meeting with Albrecht. “I think I’ve progressed a lot already. Randy and Coach (Ken) Libby have taught me everything I know about the technical aspect of basketball.”

Reed has seen his minutes progressively increase since the start of the year. He has gained acclaim for his work ethic, as well as showing a tough-minded approach and willingness to battle in the paint among larger opposing forwards.

“What we liked about him was that he didn’t shy away from contact,” Albrecht said. “If you don’t shy from contact, then there’s hope for you. He was a willing worker, and those are the kinds of kids we like.”

In his pursuit of college basketball, Reed did not see his home-schooled background as an obstacle, and had little doubt that dream would eventually be realized.

“I think it all depends on who it is,” Reed said. “It wasn’t that hard, because I was determined to make it happen.”

That’s not to say this year hasn’t come without its speed bumps. Tackling Albrecht’s philosophy proved to be an adjustment for Reed, who had not run a similar system previously.

“I got a little frustrated, because he expects you to know some things in advance,” Reed said. “About halfway through midterms, I started to catch on, and it’s been gravy ever since.”

That “gravy” took the form of a 10-point, eight-rebound performance in the Archers’ 83-78 win over Lincoln College on Dec. 15. It was the second game against Lincoln this year, and marked a significant step forward for the team as a whole and for Reed individually. In their first meeting, the Archers were held to 53 points in their only loss this season, and Reed was limited to seven points and four rebounds. At the conclusion of the fall semester, the Archers’ success coincided with an increase in minutes and production from Reed.

Reed’s progress in the past month has been very beneficial to the Archers. It’s a progression Albrecht envisioned, given Reed’s work ethic and attention to detail.

“He’s a hard worker and a smart kid,” Albrecht said. “I give Coach Libby a lot of credit. The game is so much faster than what (Reed) experienced previously. You want to make sure there isn’t a lot of doubt as to what to do in certain situations. There has to be experience and there has to be some failure in there to learn.”

Albrecht has had no shortage of successful postmen in recent years, including last year’s Ryun Davis, an NJCAA All-American and 2008 Academic All-American Bill Brandenburg. Reed, who currently holds a 3.8 grade-point average, could be on Brandenburg’s track.
Coming into this season as something of an unknown quantity, Reed’s value has revealed itself through the season’s first half, lending an idea as to what type of production his ability and work ethic will offer in the second half.

“He’s had good competition, and Coach Libby has done a good job with him. I hope he’s on a path to be an Academic All-American,” Albrecht said.  “It’s hard to place a ceiling on him.”

Given his work ethic, you can be sure Reed won’t be placing one on himself.