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.
By ADAM ZAGORIA
In his first public comments since he was connected to a $300,000 payment from LSU head coach Will Wade in exchange for attending the school, LSU freshman big man Naz Reid said, “It didn’t happen.”
“People are going to say what they’re going to say,” Reid said at the NBA Combine this week in Chicago, per the Asbury Park Press. “It doesn’t faze me. I know the truth and pretty much everyone knows the truth. It didn’t happen. I don’t care about it at this point.”
During the recent college basketball bribery trial, then-Arizona assistant coach Book Richardson was shown on videotape boasting that Wade, who has also been linked to the FBI investigation into college basketball, approached him about joining the Tigers’ staff to help with the recruitment of Reid. Richardson says on tape that Wade told him he had a deal for Reid for $300,000. Richardson then said he told Wade to “give me half (of the $300,000) and I’ll make sure the kid goes there.”
The 6-foot-10 Reid ended up at LSU out of Roselle (N.J.) Catholic in part because his girlfriend was there, too.
He’s currently projected as the No. 49 pick in the NBA Draft on June 20, per ESPN.com.
Reid met in Chicago with 15 teams. He didn’t participate in the 5-on-5 play and only did drills, testing and interviews.
“I feel like the NBA game today, a lot of guys my size are shooting threes, handling the ball, scoring from different areas on the floor,” Reid said at th Combine.
Reid averaged 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds on the season as LSU reached the Sweet 16 before losing to Michigan State in Washington, D.C. He went for 14 points and 10 rebounds in the first-round win over Yale, and then had 13 points and 4 rebounds in the victory over Maryland. He also set the key screen in the final seconds that enabled Tremont Waters to score on a game-winning layup.
“He’s a winner and he’s won everywhere he’s been,” LSU assistant Greg Heiar said. “Every team he’s ever been on, he’s a winner and he’s going to do whatever it takes to win and that’s what makes him a special player.”
Reid led Roselle Catholic to the New Jersey Tournament of Champions title in 2018, the program’s third such crown since 2013 under head coach Dave Boff. He was one of three McDonald’s All-Americans from New Jersey last year, too.
Heiar said there are still misconceptions about Reid from NBA personnel and others, and he can’t understand why.
“Everybody for whatever reasons has their question marks about Naz Reid as far as does he work hard, does he play hard,” Heiar said. “We can’t even get him out of drills in practice. He’s lost 30 pounds. He’s a winner. He does everything you want and I don’t think they really know who he really is.”
Asked why that was, Heiar said, “I don’t know, I don’t understand it, but he’s a wonderful young man, he’s a hard-working young man. He’s where he’s supposed to be when he’s supposed to be. He loves the game of basketball, he loves his teammates and he’s like a coach on the floor with skills. He’s only going to keep getting better and better and better and he works at it.”
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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.