The Richmond recruiting train chugs on after 2021 John Marshall High School point guard Jason Nelson committed to Chris Mooney’s squad a couple weeks ago. With another rising senior set to become a Spider, the staff is now focusing on Erik Reynolds as one of its top priorities.
Reynolds is a 6’ 2” guard out of The Bullis School (Maryland) and runs with Team Takeover on the Nike circuit. More of a combo than true point guard, Reynolds is still at his best as the primary ball handler, a role most schools are recruiting him for. He is a great downhill player, creating shots for himself and others. He could slide right into the Blake Francis role, carrying the scoring load, being the go-to scorer for tough baskets while also significantly handling the ball. “They tell me they would let me go, do what I do best and play freely. I feel like I would take that role [Blake Francis] and really expand it,” Reynolds said of his conversation with Richmond’s coaches.
Reynold’s skill set matches not only the Blake Francis role but the Spider offense perfectly. While excelling on-ball, Reynolds is effective off-ball as well, can run on the break, thrive at a high tempo, pound the pick and roll and expose the weak side on cuts. “Especially with that pick and roll standpoint, because, and like you said everyone is constantly moving, that’s good for space… I feel like I could make some things happen,” he explained. Reynolds fits the trend with all of Richmond’s recent recruiting. Each fits the Princeton[ish] offense. Zach Hicks is a fantastic off-ball, multi-level scorer who is positionally versatile, has above-average anticipation and kills in the pick and roll. Jason Nelson is a great on-ball guard who can just as quickly tear you to pieces as an off-ball scorer, driving the lane or pulling up off the catch and doing work off of screens. Malcolm Dread, who plays with Reynolds and another recruiting target Garrett Johnson for Team Takeover, is another multi-level scorer feasting in a high-tempo offense and pick and roll. He has been in Reynolds’ ear about a college reunion with Johnson as well.
College selection is about more than the best coaching staff or practice facility. It is where you live for some of the four most influential years of your life. That is something Reynolds does not take lightly, weighing all factors basketball and otherwise. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for him and other recruits to gauge those “otherwise” elements, giving teams like the Spiders an advantage for being all over him since midway through the previous season. He said he would not commit to a school he could not see in person.
Reynolds visited campus for a blowout victory over Davidson last March, relishing the energy of the Robins Center and receiving strong vibes from the players. “The amount of love from the team, the crowd support was crazy. Watching them play, the ball movement… I could just tell the chemistry was there. That’s what I like. Everyone spreading positivity, that’s what I like to see,” Reynolds said of his visit, echoing Jason Nelson’s remarks of the Robins Center.
Along with good team vibes, Richmond’s campus fits the mold for an ideal location to Reynolds. Living outside of Washington D.C., he would prefer not to move across coast while also staying out of his backyard. Fortunately, Virginia’s capital is within easy driving distance for relatives to watch him play without engulfing him in hometown distractions.
Reynolds holds other offers, including mid-majors and A-10 schools like VCU, St. Joe’s and George Mason. Georgetown and Seton Hall also extended scholarships to him this summer. As attractive as the Big East may be, Reynolds does not have a significant preference among conferences. “I feel like if I do go to that mid-major school and we play one of those top schools, I enjoy being the underdog in that situation… It don’t matter what conference, what school you are. You got to bring your best game each time. No matter who it is, I’m attacking them,” Reynolds explained. He would not be short of such opportunities either. The Spiders will travel to Kentucky and Vanderbilt this fall in their non-conference slate, entering the 2020-2021 season as a top-25 team according to many analysts. As many mid-majors struggle to find power-conference schools willing to risk a resume-sinking loss, Richmond has put together its best out-of-conference schedule in a few years.
Reynolds maintains he does not have a target date, although he admits the recruiting dead period’s extension to August 31 alters his timeline. Colleges and universities are still determining plans for fall semesters as the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge throughout the South and Midwest. This leaves the idea of recruiting visits up in the air through the summer, fall and even winter. “It has changed it [decision timeline] a little bit. I feel like, because right now everything is still open for me, I would like to wait it out just a little bit more,” he said. Reynolds is going to wait to make a decision until the time is right, but if the situation continues to look dire, a target date could be moved up.
A busy recruiting summer for Chris Mooney and staff goes on. They look to add Reynolds to a forming 2021 class featuring Jason Nelson and Malcolm Dread, with Zach Hicks, Garrett Johnson and others on the horizon too.