Josh Reaves carves out bigger role with Paul VI baskeball team

Josh Reaves will bring his athleticism and high energy to a greater role on Paul VI's basketball team next season.

Josh Reaves will bring his athleticism and high energy to a greater role on Paul VI’s basketball team next season.

For most of last season, Josh Reaves waited. As a sophomore on one of the area’s deepest teams at Paul VI, Reaves knew minutes would be sparse behind senior swingman Jamall Robinson and sophomore guard Frank Howard. So instead of sulking or looking for the first ticket to another school, Reaves served as a sponge.

“I spent the year getting mentored by Jamall,” said Reaves, who averaged 2.6 points last season. “He taught me what to do and when not to do certain things and how to play my part when my time came.”

With Robinson preparing to play at Hofstra next season, the time is now for Reaves to assume a bigger role for the Panthers this winter, and based on his play this summer, the 6-foot-3 rising junior appears more than ready.

In the semifinal and final of the BSN Summer League at DeMatha this past weekend, Reaves displayed his explosive abilities at both ends in the shooting guard and small forward spots. He filled the lanes effectively in Paul VI’s attempts to push the offensive tempo and his length proved troublesome for opponents on defense.

After routing C.H. Flowers, 92-67, in the semifinals, the Panthers fell 82-81 to St. John’s in the championship — a matchup that many believe could be replayed in this year’s Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title game. Both Paul VI (Howard, Marcus Derrickson and Evan Taylor) and St. John’s (Tre Campbell) were missing key players, but the contest provided a glimpse into the talent swelling on both rosters.

On several trips down the floor, Paul VI point guard Kevin Dorsey found the quick Reaves open under the basket for easy dunks and lay-ins. Reaves also showed his improved skills by maneuvering through traffic with sound ball-handling before finishing with a soft jump shot.

“On the break, I always look for Josh because I know how quick and athletic he is,” Dorsey said. “He brings a lot of energy and his jump shot has gotten a lot better.”

Reaves reminds me of NBA player Shawn Marion with his bounce, quickness, long arms and a jump shot that is effective both as a floater and from three-point range.These attributes have turned the heads of several colleges, with Villanova extending an offer and the likes of VCU, Georgetown, Mount St. Mary’s and George Mason showing interest.

Although he’s capable, the Panthers won’t need him to score in bunches this coming season. They have seven other Division I prospects in Derrickson, Dorsey, Howard, Taylor, Quadree Smith, Curt Jones and Tyler Scanlon to balance the load. But Panthers Coach Glenn Farello makes no secret of his desire to push the ball every play and press often on defense, meaning the wealth of opportunities Reaves patiently awaited last season will be there for the taking this winter.

“I’m just trying to bring energy, play fast and be focused on doing the little things that we need,” Reaves said. “We actually might be a faster team this year, which is exciting, and with all the people we have coming back, the sky’s the limit.”

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