CEDAR RAPIDS — If you’re looking for the defining moment of Nick Reid’s did-things-few-others-did basketball career, don’t look at last winter’s outrageous scoring game against East Buchanan.
You certainly remember the 76 points he put up in an overtime win, the second-highest single-game point total in state history.
Don’t look at leading the entire state in scoring last season or leading the entire state in rebounding this season. Don’t look at becoming just the seventh prep in Iowa history to surpass 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.
Don’t even look at becoming what is believed to be the first Iowa prep to average a 20-20 double-double. That’d be 20-plus points per game and 20-plus rebounds per game.
How the Central City senior was able to accomplish all those astounding things and more might have, just might have, come down to this seminal point in time: getting reamed out, if you will, by head coach Tanner Carlson and assistant coach John McGovern during a practice or two his team had three years ago when he was a precocious and developing freshman.
“I was really hard on him as a freshman,” Carlson said, stressing the word “really.” “Sometimes he didn’t appreciate that.”
No, he didn’t. Not at all.
“It was super hard on me,” Reid said. “I went home and complained to my mom, told her he was being a (jerk) to me right now. I told her I didn’t know if I could keep doing this because he was screaming at me. I felt like I was so contained, that if I made one bad decision, I would be getting screamed at, and I would be on the line. But he was just trying to help me get better.”
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Carlson said he saw something in his lanky ninth-grader, some significant potential. That’s why there was all the yelling, all the discipline.
“His mom, Lisa, welcomed it with open arms and basically told him if a coach was hard on you, it’s because they see something in you,” Carlson said. “She had my back through and through when I challenged him.”
Lisa Reid played basketball in high school at Edgewood-Colesburg, so she understood. She was not going to let her son come crying to her about the way he was being treated.
“She just told me ‘Well, you might as well just suck it up, because you’re not going to be able to do anything about it,’” Reid remembered. “She said ‘This is only the first of four years, so I don’t know what you’re complaining about.’ It was kind of like they were both on the same team against me. I was just a little freshman, didn’t know any better. They were yelling at me more than they were yelling at the seniors.”
By the time Reid became a junior and senior, the hard lessons he learned during those practices had paid off. It wasn’t just his massive on-court production, it was the off-the-court stuff, too.
Things like leadership. Carlson said there were times he didn’t really even have to coach practice this season, because Reid took care of it.
“I appreciate what (Carlson) did because it pushed me even more,” Reid said. “I don’t think if I was just coasting by because I was more talented than anyone else, I wouldn’t be where I am today, going to play college basketball. I really just have to look back and thank him for that because not many people were pushed like I was.”
Because he is playing college basketball at Division II Emporia State in Kansas, because he is a 2,000/1,000-guy in his career, because he’s a two-time Class 1A first-team all-stater, because he did average 27.9 points and 20.0 rebounds this season, because he had over 100 more total rebounds than the No. 2 guy in the state (Wapsie Valley’s Kiks Rosengarten even played in five more games than he did) ... and because, well, he’s just overall a really good kid, the 6-foot-7 wing has been named The Gazette’s 2020 boys’ basketball player of the year.
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“When I look back on it, I just think of all the memories that I’ve had,” Reid said. “Being with my teammates, winning close games. Obviously we didn’t get too far in the postseason (a district semifinal loss to Ed-Co), but this year was the most special year. We went 16-7, only lost one game at home, and that was to (2A state runner-up) North Linn. So it was really kind of a fairytale senior season for me.”
You’ve heard so much about Reid as a basketball player, but he also played quarterback for Central City’s football team, is the school’s top golfer and is a member of the baseball team as well. He decided to skip track and field for the first time this spring.
A slacker, right?
“Since I was a little kid, I’ve just been interested in every sport that I was available to do,” Reid said. “My parents didn’t specialize me mostly because Central City needed people (in every sport). It’s not as big as a Linn-Mar. If I don’t go out, if guys don’t go out, then we’ll struggle. We need everybody we can to go out for sports.”
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