JEROME Reid continues to be a good example of the young fighting spirit at the Goldfields Giants with the Esperance product already looking to having an even greater impact in 2018.
Reid was playing a local game in Esperance when he happened to come to the attention of the Giants. He was subsequently recruited to make the move to Kalgoorlie.
Three years later and the 21-year-old is feeling right at home in the city and is ready to take the next step with his basketball at the Giants.
He was there for Goldfields’ stunning run all the way to the semi finals after an 0-8 start in 2015. But it was last year when then coach Michael Haney gave him greater opportunities and he thrived.
Reid took every chance that was given to him last year and while he might still be working hard in the gym to build on his light frame to match the bigger bodies in the league and continue to hone his skills, his heart and competitiveness are two standout traits he’s already mastered.
He gives his all every second he’s on the court and even if he goes through something like his shoulder dislocating, it doesn’t take him long to return to the floor highlighting his toughness.
Overall Reid hasn’t been too happy with the way he hasn’t quite built on his 2016 form so far in 2017, but he continues to be an exciting rising star for the Giants.
He did have a season-best 15 points and eight rebounds last Saturday night against the Cockburn Cougars where he earned 27 minutes of court time.
“I am finding that little things are coming together and getting better, but to be honest I’m not too impressed with what I’ve done this year and I’m not happy with it. It could be a lot better but this is only my third year and I have a lot of time and room to improve,” Reid said.
“Last year I jumped up a bit with more minutes and the more opportunity I received, but this year we’ve had some more people at the two/three spot so I probably haven’t been putting up the numbers or getting quite the amount of minutes I’m hoping for.
“But I just need to keep working hard and make the most of every opportunity that comes my way.”
Reid enjoyed the chances he received last year and felt he was developing nicely. He worked hard in the off-season as a result and was feeling good coming into 2017.
While his upward curve perhaps hasn’t been as rapid as he was hoping, he is still tracking nicely as a young player but he wants to ensure he keeps making drastic improvements.
“Going back to last year I was very nervous when I was first put into the role of playing some big minutes. I tried not to think about the nerves too much or thinking about what could go wrong, I just focused on getting into the game and doing what I could to help the team,” he said.
“In terms of how I play, I just try not to be an easy target out there even though I’ve always been one of the lighter guys. If that means I have to go overboard in the way I attack things then so be it because I don’t want to be a liability on defence or give up any easy baskets.
“I can’t abuse the fact that I’m still young though. I have to work extra hard this off-season and this is the time I really need to be making my mark. This is the time for me to make my impact on the league and I feel like if I keep working hard and stick to my goals I’ll be able to achieve that personally and for the team.”
Haney might have been the head coach last season when Reid received his first significant minutes in the SBL, but then assistant coach and now man in charge Lou Causer has had a big part in his continued development.
That has included helping him become used to living away from home and in building up his body and especially strengthening his shoulders.
“Lou has helped me a lot along the way. In the off-season he spent a lot of time with me and he has done whatever he can to help me out and develop, which was great,” Reid said.
“The shoulder actually does give me some trouble still and I missed the pre-season because it happened again. But after that I have been doing a lot of boxing and working hard in the gym to strengthen it to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“I moved up here and everyone is great at the club. Everyone is so close because it’s such a small town and I’m a country boy, and this is definitely the ideal SBL team for me to play for.”
Reid might have never thought about playing SBL when growing up in Esperance, but sometimes things just happen for a reason and that’s how he ended up in Kalgoorlie.
“I honestly didn’t know about the Giants growing up because in Esperance we had no exposure to the league or anything like that,” he said.
“I played a random winter comp game down in Esperance a few years back and a former Buccs player just happened to be there and I must have impressed him. So he got in contact with the club to recommend me and the rest of it just worked out from there.
“But now that I’ve been here three years the club means a lot to me. We are all here to try and win another banner, none of us are here to muck around.”
Playoffs might be out of reach of the Giants now for 2017 but that’s not going to stop them trying to make their mark in their remaining games against Lakeside, Perry Lakes, the South West Slammers, Mandurah Magic and Rockingham Flames.
Reid will be leading the way in making sure the Giants give heir all the rest of 2017.
“We are all coming together four or five times a week, we are training our heart out and just trying to be as competitive as we can even if the results aren’t quite coming our way at the moment,” Reid said.
“Until the whole season’s over we are going to keep fighting every night. Whether we can still make finals or not, we are just going to keep giving our all and we won’t be giving up at all. Above half of us we were here two years ago when we had that turnaround so we know anything can happen.”
Photo by Vikki Hile