Austin Reaves' small-town dream to NBA glory with the Lakers

Nestled in the middle of a pasture is Austin Reaves. The mosquitoes are worse now than they were last year, and the air is thick and warm. However, this place is very serene, near the “big pond” where his mother occasionally eats.


This is where “Hillbilly Kobe” was born, a 6-foot-5 guard the Lakers discovered after last year’s NBA Draft. However, the true country boy is not very comfortable in this setting.

His eyes begin to water as his allergies are killing his sinuses and giving the tip of his nose the color of an Arkansas Razorback.

Worse yet, he could be wanted once more.


Reaves recalled the moment, earlier that May morning, when he was sitting at the kitchen table with his mother, Nicole Wilkett, when the family cows ran around him and the family dogs. Nicole Wilkett was with him at the time. Reaves’ decision to pursue a different line of work was influenced by hundreds of different factors, including this episode.

Could something similar happen to Reaves, where he gets caught in the middle of a stampede? He smiles and says, “You can get your wish,” as the herd begins to circle around him.

The cows emit a moo. They could get very angry. Or they may share the same desire as everyone else in this collection of small country communities to get a better look at the NBA player.


Reaves escapes before he has a chance to find out the truth.

Wilkett makes the joke that you’ve never liked cows.

The function of fake moos Cattle continue to keep their distance from each other. After getting back on a four-wheeler, Reaves races to a different part of the farm’s 300-acre property.

He could have claimed it as his own, but he made the decision not to.

When Wilkett wanted something done, he would tell them, “You either go to the gym or work on the farm.”

It wasn’t so much a decision as a threat, and it did the job it was meant to do.


His detractors claimed that he was nothing more than a lazy young man from a remote community who lacked the necessary physical attributes to handle the demanding aspects of the game due to his narrow shoulders. In a league looking for definite things, Reaves was hardly a lock to make the team.

Because of this, his agency inquired about the reason for his desire to do this before the NBA draft.

Or could it have been the money? What comes first, the clothes or the cars? Who are the ladies? the notoriety?

In his own words, Reaves said: “I looked into his eyes. After that, I told him to tell everyone to leave. All my life, I have struggled with being underweight. he is not physically fit enough. In the past, he lacked the necessary level of skill. They all offered explanations as to why I shouldn’t. It was a phrase that was repeated over and over again: “We’re going to find something in him that he can’t do well enough to be successful.”

“Yeah, so telling everyone to fuck off was a good feeling.”

It seems that the cows are also part of this.

“Even if you don’t like basketball, you still love Austin.” After making his NBA debut with the Lakers, Reaves returned to his hometown after enjoying a season with the team that was as successful for him personally as it could be. possibly it was. She divided her time between the farm in Newark and the house she shared with her father, Brian Reaves, in Batesville, which was only ten minutes away.

When you drive at night on the highways connecting Newark, Oil Trough and Sulfur Rock, the only thing that shines through the eerie dark void are your car’s headlights.

Although it has always been this way, after spending time in Los Angeles, he has begun to notice that there is a difference.

A former high school great who used to spend 20 minutes signing autographs on the court before walking into the locker room after a game, Reaves is better known in this city than anywhere else on earth.

This hasn’t changed despite the increasingly bizarre nature of the lawsuits that have been made.

As Reaves and his friends dined at a riverside steakhouse, he was mocked for his status as an NBA player by the surrounding community.

During the golf tournament that the three ended up winning, a fan approached Reaves and asked for his autograph. It occurs quite frequently in this region. However, Reaves was accosted by a man whose arms were covered in tattoos. Reaves was asked to sign in a blank spot on the skin of his forearm, which he extended, so that the signature could be permanently inked to finish the sleeves. Reaves complied with this request.

Kelly Dennison, Independence County Librarian, said that even if you don’t like basketball, “you love Austin.” Especially in this particular region.

According to Reaves’s interpretation, either he knows you directly or he knows someone who does.

Reaves’ father was a point guard at Arkansas State University, where he finished third all-time in career assists. He resigned from the team and “Hoop Dreams” star Arthur Agee, a well-known guard, was brought in to take his place in the starting lineup. Reaves’ mother was also a standout scorer during her time at Arkansas State University; his career scoring average of 19 points per game was the second-highest in the annals of school history.

His mother continued to take a shot from 10 feet away on a half court adjoining the house while laughing and saying, “More of a scorer than a shooter, you know what I mean?” On that court, which was surrounded by Woodland, Austin, his older brother Spencer, and their friends played a game called “no fouls” and “no out of bounds.” After a fight over a loose ball in the woods, someone usually ended up with a cut across the face.

Spencer is a name that needs no introduction in the city of Newark. The fact that he is a professional athlete in Germany does not carry as much weight as before, but it still carries some importance.

After a brief pause, Spencer commented with a smile, “I’m Austin’s older brother now.” And I hate every time that happens. Wilkett told his sons that they had the choice of working in agriculture or athletics because the town they grew up in had only three stop signs and was so small that the local pizzeria was simply called “The Pizzeria.”

They were all aware of the fact that no real decision had been made. The evidence is plastered all over the bedroom walls where Austin used to spend his childhood. Above his bed is a collage he created, consisting of images of the youth baseball team he excelled on as a shortstop. He was a golf prodigy and still is.

On the opposite side, Reaves still displays the trophy he won for his first successful shot against the males. It’s a deer head that he harvested after a successful hunt when he was just six years old.

However, considering the genetic makeup of the Reaves family, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that the Reaves sons have become well known on the court.

“I thought there must be a mistake. as if I were completely unconscious.

— Austin Reaves, after learning he had scored 73 points in a game that went into three overtimes.

The year Reaves was a freshman at Cedar Ridge High School and her brother was a junior there, the school was crowned the 2A state champion. This gang prevailed over East Poinsett County and its standout player Malik Monk, who was a highly sought-after recruit to the University of Kentucky and will be a future Lakers teammate of theirs.

Back then, Reaves was nothing more than a string-thin point guard tasked with running Cedar Ridge’s offense.

“Sometimes he would get hit just going over the layup line,” recalled Isaac Middlebrooks, who was the team’s coach. Despite this, Reaves began to develop a reputation for being a fierce competitor. It’s not like he could escape being beaten by his brother on the basketball court or in the basement of the family home. Kobe Bryant, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers, was his favorite player on the club and he admired him for his toughness, resilience and determination, as well as his brilliance.

Spencer said, “As an older brother, you always enjoy hitting your younger brother,” and she meant it. Despite being severely beaten on a regular basis, he continued to come back for more. But he never lost his ability to recover.

“He never backed down from competing in that sense, even though I was beating him,”

The following year, the Reaves and Cedar Ridge boys won the state title again, marking the beginning of their rise to fame in their hometown.

“In small towns, basketball or sports are sometimes the only things people have to experience together,” Spencer said. We don’t have a team in the NBA. Our city doesn’t have a team in the National Football League… I think it’s beneficial for people to have something they can hold on to and feel connected to in their lives. And as a high school team, we were able to be one of those things because of our level of talent. It was an incredible experience.

After a game at Cedar Ridge High School, Austin Reaves is comforted by his older brother, Spencer, who is 12 years old. Following the conclusion of a game at Cedar Ridge High School, Austin Reaves is comforted by his older brother, Spencer. (Photo by Brian Reaves, with permission) As a senior, Austin had established himself as one of the top-scoring high school players in the country. The opposing defenses employed double teams and other defensive strategies in an effort to hinder their progress. To place the best games, Middlebrooks competed against larger schools and traveled to other states. They were looking for the best competition.

Almost every time, Reaves accomplished something truly remarkable.

There was one game where he scored 33 of his 57 total points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning whistle in that period. He scored 40+ points in each game on average. After getting off to a slow start and having foul trouble, he scored 43 points in the state championship game to help his team win for the third time in the last four years.

But none of those games compare to the one he had on Dec. 4, 2015, against the Forrest City Mustangs, a team that ultimately won a state title in a division that was three levels above the one Reaves’ Cedar Ridge team competed in. . .

In a nail-biting victory that went to three overtimes and 117 points, Reaves chipped in 73 points.

Reaves was able to attack relentlessly thanks to the push from the Mustangs. He attempted 37 free throws and made 34 of them.

Middlebrooks noted that whenever the group needed a bucket, Middlebrooks could count on the individual to provide one.

As it was getting late in the game, Reaves looked at the scoreboard and noticed the point number next to his name. The game ended up being the highest scoring game in state history.

“At first, I assumed it was a mistake. As if I had no idea,” he said. “I thought they were wrong.”

Finally, they could pat themselves on the back for having Reaves under their control.

“It was very clear that he would be the individual who would decide what would happen on the court.”

— Austin Reaves’ leadership, according to Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger

When Reaves returned to his hometown after spending two years at Wichita State, he found that a lot had changed. The program in middle school was established on the back of players who were quite similar to it and who were overlooked by the more dominant programs in college basketball for one reason or another. However, he was not a famous person. Truth be told, it wasn’t even a legitimate holder.

“People were still proud of him,” Reaves’s father said of his son after his death. “But when people go…it’s not like when they’re here winning state championships,” the speaker continued.

Gregg Marshall, the Wichita State head coach, knew that Reaves was a very important player.

“We think Austin is the total package,” Marshall said of signing Reaves, referring to the fact that his high school team relied on him to score a lot of points to succeed. “His scoring numbers stand out,” Marshall said. “That’s what he needed to do to make his high school team successful.”

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