Incroyable! Rawlings Ends 2-Year Hiatus
| Reed Rawlings (right), Bourg-en-Bresse
Not having played professional..
.. basketball for the past two seasons, following an injury, usually means the end of a pro career for most ballplayers. Then how do you explain Reed Rawlings, who spent the last two years at Brook Hill High School (Bullard, Texas) as the high school’s varsity basketball coach, signing last week with French powerhouse Bourg-en-Bresse in Pro B. A good start, three weeks ago, was Rawlings, formerly one of the top players in the NBA Development League, signing with Court Side. He then further validated himself with a strong performance on a one-week tour of the Ukraine with the faith-based traveling team, Sports Power. The6’7 (2.01 m), 220-pound (100 kg) small forward showed the Ukrainians that he hasn’t lost a step since his NBA D-League days on that tour, which included a 28-point performance against the Ukrainian National Team. His condition and talent were enough to generate a six-figure contract offer from one of the first-division teams in Ukraine’s Superleague. With Court Side representation, several top European teams expressed interest with Rawlings finally accepting an offer from Bourg-en-Bresse. The chance to play for one of Pro B’s top programs and help them advance to Pro A, was an opportunity, which the super-competitive Rawlings craved. While proving himself to the an excellent high school coach (his team won over 80% of its games in two seasons and made it to the upper-echelon of the Texas state championships this past year), Rawlings, who suffered a serious back (disc) injury in 2006, still had the itch to play, once he got healthy again. Opting for a longer rehabilitation (which included a long rest from basketball) instead of having surgery, Rawlings, along with coaching high school basketball and teaching Bible study classes, kept his competitive level by going on numerous international tours with faith-based organizations such as Athletes in Action, BCI-Edge and Sports Power (among his varied experiences during his hiatus, Rawlings was one of the top players at the Haarlem Week Tournament in the Netherlands in December, 2006 and he starred in the 2007 Jones Cup Tournament in Taiwan). The 29-year old Rawlings was named one of the NBA D-League’s top 15 players in 2005, when he was honored with an All-D-League selection, after starring for the Columbus (Georgia) Riverdragons, when he averaged 13.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game (he shot 50% from 2 and 38% from 3-point range).
Rawlings, who is known as a springy athlete with exceptional ball skills and a strong passion to win, can play with the best in Europe. Extremely coachable (with a high basketball IQ), Rawlings just wants to compete for championships. He’s an excellent 3-point shooter, someone who can create his own shot, while displaying strong leadership on the floor. And, he’s equally lethal off the dribble or running the floor in transition. Aside from a strong reputation earned in the D-League, Reed has previous overseas experience playing in Australia and Portugal. He had a storied college career at Samford (averaging double-figures for the last 3 seasons in the NCAA... he ranked sixth in school history for scoring and tenth in rebounding), including the 1999 season when he was named conference player of the year. He starred in Samford's two NCAA appearances, earning Chevrolet Player of the Game twice (1999 versus St. John's, and in 2000 against Syracuse, when he scored 28 points including 5 of 5 from 3-pointland in the NCAA first round). He was invited to the 2000 Portsmouth Invitational, where he averaged over 17 points per game. The small forward has NBA experiences, having played on two NBA Summer League Teams (2000: Denver, where he averaged 14 ppg/2001: Denver) and participated in two NBA veterans training camps (2001: Houston/2002: Denver). And this past June, he spent a couple of weeks working out with the Milwaukee Bucks.