Ahead of High School Season, Clint Bryant Discusses Top 60 Prospect Derrion Reid, CSRA Hoops
For the first time, Coach Bryant shares his perspective about local high school players and where CSRA basketball fits in the bigger picture.
Derrion Reid (Grovetown) - November, 2021
In this podcast, former Augusta University athletic director of 34 years Clint Bryant talks on record for the first time about several topics of interest for area basketball fans. We start by discussing Derrion Reid of Grovetown, who was recently ranked No. 53 on the ESPN Top 100 list for juniors. We also discuss local high school basketball and where it fits in the statewide and national picture.
Coach Bryant spent many years coaching college basketball at the highest levels, he helped bring the Nike Peach Jam to North Augusta, and he knows more about the sport than anybody I’ve met. But because of the way the sport works, somebody in Coach Bryant’s position can’t be interviewed for a podcast about high school basketball and the players involved. Because he has recently retired, we now have the privilege of hearing his opinions. I hope it’s something we will enjoy frequently going forward.
Derrion Reid’s Makes a Special Visit
The eyes of the college football world were focused on Sanford Stadium Saturday to watch defending national champion Georgia silence the buzz about the offensive firepower of Tennessee. Before kickoff, observers had been calling it the biggest game to be played in Athens… ever. Seemingly everybody watched it on TV and about one-hundred thousand fans were fortunate enough to see it from the stands.
But several dozen of the highest level high school football prospects were given the VIP experience of viewing it from the sidelines, inside the hedges and on Dooley Field, made famous by the likes of Charlie’s Trippi, Herschel Walker and Vince Dooley himself. Evans sophomore tackle Mason Short was one of the dozen high school football players ranked in the top 5 at their position who watched from the sidelines.
Derrion Reid Saturday on Dooley Field inside of Sanford Stadium
The University of Georgia’s athletic program also granted the privilege to 6-7 junior basketball player Derrion Reid of Grovetown, who recently emerged as No. 53 in ESPN’s Top 60 players list for the class of 2024. Preseason workouts and early season practices at Grovetown have become a magnet for high major college coaches partially because of Reid, who has the potential to be our area’s most heavily recruited player since at least the 1990’s when William Avery, Vonteego Cummings and Ricky Moore made Augusta the center of gravity for hoops in the Peach State before going on to Final Four and NBA Draft Lottery fame.
The parallels between the current moment for basketball in the CSRA and those times are evident when you consider not only the recruiting frenzy for Reid, but also Grovetown’s No. 17 ranking in the Preseason MaxPreps Top 25. The last time an area team has finished a season ranked nationally was in 1995 when Moore and Avery led Westside to a state championship and a No. 9 ranking in the final USA Today poll.
Just like how during the 1990’s “golden age” of area basketball, Thomson, Richmond, North Augusta, Laney and Josey were also elite teams worthy of praise and respect far beyond the borders of the CSRA, the current landscape absolutely features far greater than only one squad that commands respect because four local teams will enter this season as defending state champions for their respective class.
Returning Champions Set to Do Battle
Grovetown is the returning 6A champ, and the Warriors are set to face three nationally ranked teams during the non-region schedule. And before the regular season is even five days old, Grovetown will have faced two fellow defending state champions from the CSRA, beginning with a showdown against Westside, at Westside, in this Friday’s Ricky Moore Invitational.
The following Tuesday Grovetown will host Cross Creek, who is coming off back-to-back 3A titles and is led by Antoine Lorrick. The 6’8” senior forward became a hometown hero two seasons ago by shutting down last summer’s No. 2 NBA Draft pick Jabari Smith in the state championship game when Lorrick was a sophomore. Fifth year head coach Lawrence Kelly has wasted no time turning Cross Creek into a dynasty that has appeared in the state championship three seasons in a row, and winning the last two.
Westside will host this Friday’s blockbuster season opening Ricky Moore Invitational that will feature a triple header that includes three returning state champions (Grovetown, Westside and Augusta Christian) and a returning runner up (Butler, which fell to Westside in last season’s class 2A championship game).
When we hit the ground running Friday, Westside will try to prove that it’s the Patriots who deserve the national attention when they face Grovetown in the nightcap. People have been talking about this game for months. And returning South Carolina Independent School Association champion Augusta Christian will face Butler in the preceding game.
The meetings between defending state champions won’t stop after the season’s first five days because on November 22, Cross Creek will host Augusta Christian, and on December 6, Augusta Christian will host Westside.
The buzz around the beginning this basketball season and the anticipation about high profile matchups like those reminds me of the 1990’s too.