Los Angeles Preps: West Coast Conference
LA VERNE -- When discussions take place about some of the Southland's premier post players, the name Chris Reyes is not always included in the conversation.
The lack of recognition, however, does not bother the 6-foot-6, 205-pound senior from Damien. The perceived snub has served as plenty of motivation this season. Accordingly, Reyes is playing as well, if not better than most his peers in the greater Los Angeles area.
“Chris may not be ranked as high as the other guys, but he is just as good in my book,'' Damien coach Matt Dunn said. “He affects the game in so many ways, on both ends of the floor. Honestly, I think when people underestimate him, it's a mistake. I've seen Chris make opponents pay for taking him lightly in the past. He plays with this uncanny fire.''
As Reyes has gone, so have the Spartans (18-1 overall), No. 17 in the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 20 rankings. They have a test Wednesday in a showdown with visiting Chino Hills Ayala. The winner will be in the driver's seat in the Sierra League standings.
The St. Mary's-bound Reyes is shooting 62 percent from the field and is averaging a double-double per game with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Never one to back down from a challenge, he has also blocked an average of five shots on a nightly basis.
“I'd like to be be compared to the best big guys around. Do I think about it all the time? No, not really,'' Reyes said. “Honestly, I kind of like being unknown.''
He is far from an unknown, rest assured. Thing is: La Verne Lutheran's Grant Jerrett, North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake's Zena Edosomwan, Woodland Hills Taft's Anthony January and Gardena Serra's Daddy Ugbede typically grab most of the headlines.
It must be difficult living in the supposed shadows of a sibling. Justin Holiday might understand this better than most considering his kid brother Jrue Holiday is enjoying success in the NBA nowadays while big brother is finishing up his college career at Washington.
Odds are, Justin has no problem with his brother earning a starting point guard gig with the Philadelphia 76ers this season. And who knows, with some continued improvement, perhaps the former Southland standout from North Hollywood Campbell Hall High will end up making name for himself and follow a similar path to the pros.
“Jrue was always special, but Justin was no slouch, not by any means,'' said one-time Campbell Hall coach Terry Kelly, currently the head coach at Atlanta (GA) Holy Innocents Episcopal High. “You had the feeling that it was just a matter of time before Justin put it all together, and in my opinion, I think he's beginning to do that now. Thing is, his timing could not be much better.''
Kelly could be onto something here. After all, Holiday seemingly improves each and every game he is in the lineup and plays major minutes for the Huskies (19-8 overall), who will host UCLA on March 3 in a Pac-10 Conference game that will be televised by ESPN.
The 6-foot-6 senior forward, a co-captain along with Isaiah Thomas, ranks among the team leaders in per game averages of points (11.9), rebounds (5.2), assists (2.1) and steals (1.3). It is worth mentioning his field-goal percentage (.504) is up there with Washington's best.
Keep this in mind, Holiday was a seldom-used reserve as a freshman for the Huskies. He took a big step forward as a sophomore and was one of the first players off the bench. Accordingly, his role expanded during his junior season and he was named to the Pac-10 All-Defensive Team.
“You've got to like what you get with Justin,'' Kelly said. “He can play the three or the four and tends to gives people fits with his athleticism. Nothing has changed since I had him. I think his versatility is what separates him from the others and makes him attractive to minds in the NBA.''