Kowacie Reeves ready to return to form with Georgia Tech

Florida guard Kowacie Reeves (14) drives to the basket around Auburn guard K.D. Johnson (0) on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Florida guard Kowacie Reeves (14) drives to the basket around Auburn guard K.D. Johnson (0) on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

As a high school freshman, Kowacie Reeves was but a footnote on the scouting report. His job was nothing more than to sprint to a corner and launch a 3-point shots.

Reeves did make 45 3-pointers during the 2017-18 season to lead the Seminoles, but wasn’t much of a threat to anything else on offense. Then Reeves got serious about his basketball career.

“The next three years his game just expanded,” said Josh Grube, Reeves’ coach at Westside High in Macon. “He got to the point where he could handle the ball, and then obviously his junior and senior years he put up just crazy numbers and was all-state and all that.

“The growth from freshman year to senior year was unbelievable. He averaged 27 points and didn’t have a whole lot of other players around him. For him to average 27 points per game his senior year was incredible.”

Reeves, a transfer from Florida and one of several newcomers on Tech’s roster for next season, became a four-star recruit at Westside, was a McDonald’s All-American nominee and a finalist for Georgia’s Mr. Basketball. His 27 points per game during his senior season followed a 21.3 ppg junior season and 18.2 ppg campaign as a sophomore.

Now 6-foot-6 and 192 pounds, Reeves transformed into an explosive wing with a deadly shooting touch. But he never was able to become the scoring star at Florida that he was in high school.

Reeves averaged only 8.5 points last season and 5.5 as a freshman in Gainesville. His career high came in an SEC tournament game in 2022 when he dropped 21 on Texas A&M, one of only two times in his career that Reeves has scored 20 points in a game.

Reeves hopes that a new setting back in his home state will allow him again to have a pivotal impact on the court.

“He saw (Tech coach Damon Stoudamire’s) vision, and he believed in it,” Kowacie Reeves Sr. told the AJC in April. “Fresh start, fresh coach, back home, just ready to start over and get going.”

Grube said that one aspect of Reeves’ game that has never changed has been his dedication to improve. When Reeves became a prep star and a highly sought after recruit, Grube said, he continued to show up early to practices and workouts and work harder than anyone else.

Grube added that the college junior still drops by Westside from time to time and is always willing to talk to current Westside students about what it takes to be successful. Now those students, and the rest of Reeve’s support group, have the opportunity to make a short trip north to cheer for one of their own.

“He’s one of those once-in-a-generation type kids that you get to coach,” Grube said. “I’m excited for him being at Georgia Tech where I think he’ll have more of an opportunity to show what he can do and play more minutes. I think Georgia Tech is getting a great kid. A good basketball player but an even better person.”