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Kentucky Basketball Player Preview: Antonio Reeves

Reeves is already making a strong push for the right to be called UK’s best shooter.

Antonio Reeves UK Athletics

Since 2018, John Calipari and Co. have welcomed several transfers to the roster, starting with Reid Travis and most notably Oscar Tshiebwe. The transfers have always provided a much-needed veteran presence and value to the roster.

This season, Kentucky added one of the most talented offensive transfers in the country, Antonio Reeves, from Illinois State University. While Reeves is not likely to become the consensus National Player of the Year like Tshie, he will be an important piece.

Antonio Reeves

  • Height: 6-foot-5
  • Weight: 205 lbs.
  • Class: Senior
  • Position: Guard
  • Hometown: Chicago, IL
  • Recruit Rankings: Unranked in class of 2019 via 247 Sports Composite.

Originally part of the 2019 recruiting class, Reeves was a three-star prospect that had received some interest from high majors like Wisconsin and Illinois, but only received offers from local low D-1 schools.

Ultimately, Reeves chose Illinois State University.

As a freshman in 2019, Reeves immediately made an impact and was named to the MVC All-Bench Team. His on-court performance gave him the opportunity to start all but 1 game in his sophomore season, becoming the team’s second-leading scorer (12.4 ppg). Yet, Reeves did not truly break out until last season, when he averaged 20.1 points and was named All-MVC.

Deciding to transfer, Reeves ended his career at Illinois State, sitting fourth on the program’s all-time scoring list (1,195 points). With that said, Reeves was an efficient scorer as well, making 47% of his shots from the field, 39% from three-point range, and 82% from the free-throw line.

Given his offensive skill set and efficiency, it is easy to see why John Calipari was so interested when Reeves put his name in the portal.

So, what is Kentucky getting?

Reeves comes to Kentucky to fill a position of need following the departures of Kellan Grady and Davion Mintz. Unlike Mintz or Grady, Reeves is a better all-around scorer and has shown that he can provide scoring as more than a spot-up shooter.

One of Kentucky’s biggest weaknesses in recent years has been scoring within the halfcourt. Just last season, Kentucky was rated just slightly above average in shots taken in the last 4 seconds of the shot clock (62nd percentile).

That weakness is a strength of Reeves’, as last season he ranked in the 88th percentile nationally in late-clock situations, and received an “excellent” grade by Synergy. In addition, Reeves earned the same grade as an overall offensive player, pick-and-roll ball-handler, jump shooter off the dribble, and isolation scorer.

What does this mean? In short, Reeves can get you a bucket when it’s needed most. Reeves shined bright in the Bahamas, averaging 17.0 points per game over the four-game stretch. He also won the three-point contest at Big Blue Madness.

Expect to see Reeves shine bright this season as well.

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