2022-2023 Player Preview: Ifton Reed

When the inevitable outcome occurred and Chet Holmgren announced his plans to enter the NBA draft, Gonzaga fans began reeling over the prospect of the complete eviction of the frontal area dominance the Zags had experienced over the past few years.

Forget Holmgren for a moment; Zaggs didn’t even think Drew Timmy would be back. This was fresh from a missed opportunity in the last four basketball game for the team that then flipped Bulldog’s featured recruit at the eleventh hour. March was brutal to say the least.

In an exemplary fashion, the Gonzaga took their time evaluating solutions to the list-building problem. We eventually saw an NBA talent like Kenneth Lofton Jr., actively texting the coaching staff to express his interest. Other players quickly pointed to Gonzaga’s contact with them to amplify their potential to power five schools. Then those guys went on to sign on to those other schools, in large part because it was clear that the Bulldogs coaching staff would continue to do their due diligence to find their leg.

Then they found it. After a secret on-campus visit, a competitive final push as assistant coach Roger Powell flew across the country to make a home run amid a crowded recruitment drive, a former five-star recruit and LSU Tiger emerged out of nowhere for many to sign and declare his commitment to Gonzaga by the athleteTobias Bass.

Appendix VII, for whatever reason, was not the patriotic effect you might think of for a recruit who is ranked third in his class and twenty-seventh nationally according to 24/7 recruitmentVehicle ratings. Perhaps it was because of the rough stat streak that Reed had during his first college campaign. He averaged 6.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.5 assists in under 20 minutes per game.

But as is often the case, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Red was asked to do a lot for a 7-foot freshman who played alongside other great players and played lackluster guard. While future Houston Rocket Tari Eason can play 3-5, coach Will Wade has made him pretty much the edge protector. Darius Day was another great who made Reed diverged into hell on both ends.

Did I mention playing guard? LSU ranked 315th in turnover according to KenPom last season at 20.7% (Gonzaga ranked 34th in the country with 15.6%). Their payment was only marginally better, with 31% of the outside paying off well enough for 277 in the nation. With such poor ball control and shooting, the offense was in disarray and Reed was later lost in the fold.

Reed had the fifth-highest use of Tigers last season with the sixth-highest number of shooting attempts on the field. Of those with 150 or more field shooting attempts, Reed had the highest rim rate, shooting 65%. In a half-court offense, it was the best offensive weapon after Eason.

But what makes Reid incredibly interesting is the extrapolation of his shot stats into Gonzaga’s spacing and offense. Not only will he see more reliable guard play, but he’ll simply get a better look. Producer DMV was LSU’s top mid-range shooter, shooting 45.8% on jumpers, which is especially impressive considering that more than half of his attempts on the season came from the midrange which was well above the Tigers’ attack the rest.

Reed averaged 1.2 points per possession when shooting from 17 feet to 22 feet, finishing in the 98th percentile for all players. He was ranked as a three-tier scorer who dropped out of high school, something we didn’t see completely in his one college season. He shot only 25% in 2021-2022, but given LSU’s half-cock spacing and inconsistent ball control, it’s hard to see much from just 20 attempts.

I’ve seen glimpses of what made Reed such a precious prospect after graduating from high school. It’s gentle, provides a soft touch around the basket and goes on both ends. He has a pure stroke and a high shooting from multiple levels, with an impressive ability to come out over 15 feet and is respected as a great shot.

The lure on the Zags was Reid’s ability to pick up, bread, and butter for Mark Few’s system. This bird was useful when he picked and appeared in those groups, averaging one point per possession. In addition, he averaged 1.148 points per possession as a drummer in the high screens.

Reid can realize the offensive potential many saw during his enlistment when he plays alongside college basketball’s greatest scorer Drew Timmy and killer bowlers in the vicinity of Racer Bolton, Julian Strother and Malachi Smith. In defense, he has the opportunity to play in a more comfortable place within the scheme and is simply asked to protect the edge rather than constantly being drawn to the periphery.

Reid is just a sophomore, with the potential to develop into a player who not only contributes day and night to this season’s team with championship prospects but also to be the clear heir as the focal point of the best offensive line in all of college basketball. He’ll be required to learn on the job a bit, but he’s proven he has the tools to get the job done