In the days leading up to the June 25 NBA draft, reporter Zack Rosenblatt will take a trip down memory lane, dig into the Star archives, and look at some of Arizona’s former NBA draftees, the path that took them to that point, and what they’ve done since then.
Today: Khalid Reeves
When, Khalid Reeves arrived at Arizona in 1990, Lute Olson was in his eighth year as Arizona’s coach and the Wildcats had made six straight NCAA tournaments.
The next four years would prove to be symbolic of Reeves’ career as a Wildcat — for three years, flashes of talent, inconsistency, and postseason disappointment. Mixed in for Reeves was some legal trouble, too.
Reeves’ senior season changed everything.
The Wildcats made a deep tournament run and Reeves got it together, vaulting himself into prime position for the 1994 NBA draft.
Here’s a look back at Reeves’ path to the pros:
At Arizona: Olson pulled a recruiting coup when he landed Reeves, a star at Christ the King High School in Queens, N.Y. Reeves was both a McDonalds and Parade All-American.
Reeves scored 9.1 points per game as a freshman, despite sharing touches with Chris Mills, Brian Williams, Sean Rooks and Matt Muehlebach. His numbers rose to 13.9 points per game as a sophomore, then dipped to 12.3 as a junior.
Reeves was inconsistent during his first three seasons, just as capable of struggling from the field as breaking out for 20 or more points.
In three elimination NCAA tournament games, he shot 22.7 percent from the field.
“My confidence level is feeling kind of low,” he said as a junior. “It’s hard for me to make decisions now. It’s hard for me play when I don’t feel I have the support of other people.”
That all changed in Reeves’ senior season.
He averaged 23.2 points per game, a UA record, and scored 40 points in one game. Reeves was named a consensus All-American and guided Arizona to the 1994 Final Four. Many, including the Star, argued that his season might have been the greatest in UA history.
The draft: Following his stellar senior year, Reeves became attractive to NBA personnel. He attended the Nike Desert Classic in Phoenix and impressed after the season, scoring 69 points in 67 minutes over three games.
The 6-foot-3-inch guard was a projected lottery pick throughout the pre-draft process. Pre-draft buzz linked Reeves to the Los Angeles Clippers at No. 7 and Los Angeles Lakers at No. 10.
“Teams have to make the determination that he can play point guard,” an NBA scout told the Star of Reeves’ collegiate experience at shooting guard. “Those that do, like him better than those that don’t, but everybody likes his ability. There’s no questioning his skill level.”
In the end, he missed the lottery by one pick, going No. 12 to the Miami Heat. Reeves signed a five-year, $8.5 million rookie contract.
From the archives: ”Going from college ball to pro ball will be the hardest part for me. But playing point guard is all that I’ve ever wanted. And now I’m finally having the chance. It’s like ... heaven.” — Reeves, to New York Daily News in 1994.
As a pro: Reeves only lasted one season in Miami — getting what would be career-highs of 9.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game — before being shipped in a blockbuster trade to the Charlotte Hornets, along with Glen Rice and others, for star center Alonzo Mourning.
Reeves bounced around the league for the rest of his career, spending time with the New Jersey Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls. He then went overseas, finishing in Venezuela in 2005.
Over six NBA seasons, Reeves averaged 7.8 points per game and made the playoffs once.
After his playing career ended, Reeves spent time as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Christ the King.