NBA prospect Naz Reid goes for double-double as LSU fends off Yale in NCAA Tournament | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Wednesday / October 23.
  • NBA prospect Naz Reid goes for double-double as LSU fends off Yale in NCAA Tournament

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On the eve of his first NCAA Tournament game, Naz Reid said he wanted to make a statement like some of his role models from the New York and New Jersey area: Kemba Walker and Karl-Anthony Towns.

    Both of those players reached at least a Final Four, with Walker and UConn winning the whole thing in 2011

    The 6-foot-10 Reid has a ways to go before he gets that far but he had an impressive performance in his first NCAA Tournament game, going for 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting and 10 rebounds as No. 3 LSU fought off No. 14 Yale, 79-74, in a first-round East Regional game here at Veterans Memorial Arena.

    “I think I did [take a step],” the Asbury Park, N.J., native and former Roselle Catholic star said in the locker room. “Not a huge step like I thought it would be. You don’t know what to expect in NCAA March Madness. We won our first game and hopefully we’ll win this one.”

    Next up is the Maryland/Belmont winner on Saturday, with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line. Reid’s next loss could be his final game in an LSU uniform. He’s projected as the No. 47 pick in the NBA Draft, per ESPN.com.

    He would appear to fit what the modern NBA is all about, versatile, athletic big men who can run, shoot and space the floor.

    “With guys like Karl Towns and Bam [Adebayo], I think so,” Reid said of his NBA comparisons. “It’s not going to be easy, that’s why you work out.”

    Reid and Towns both won New Jersey Tournament of Champions titles in high school, and Reid likes to emulate the way Towns “rebounds and shoots the corner three.” ”

    “Sometimes he might even push on the break, but the way he plays in the post is just something that stands out,” Reid added.

    “Naz has been great to coach,” interim coach Tony Benford said. “He’s fun. He’s in tremendous shape. He’s really changed his body. But we wanted to play through him. We wanted to get paint touches. That’s one of our game standards was get 50 or more paint touches. I thought we did that establishing the paint points early, and Naz did a great job. Stepped out, I don’t know if he made a three, might have made one, I’m not sure, but we’ve just got to keep playing through him moving forward, and we’ve got to do a great job on the defensive end, as well, too.”

    Benford notched his first NCAA Tournament victory as the interim coach after taking over for Will Wade before the SEC Tournament. Wade was suspended indefinitely after a Yahoo report indicated he was caught on a federal wiretap making an offer for a player named “Smart.” LSU guard Javonte Smart is also sitting out.

    “I mean, it’s just a different voice,” Reid said of Benford. “Him being an assistant coach to Coach Wade, they kind of coach the same way. It’s really just a different voice and we all respect them the same way, as if it was Coach Wade.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.