What’s Really Worth Remembering About Alex Reese
There's a time for criticism and there's a time for praise. There's a time in this business of sports journalism where discussing the negatives of an athlete's personal life is a necessity. Whether sportwriters or sports fans like it or not, it's news.
But here's the thing about news, it's only news when it's new. Hell, Tide 100.9 broke that particular news.
Regardless of the topic of a column, bringing up the sins of the past is only relevant when the story calls for it.
Randomly bringing up those sins before a critical game is useless.
The only thing you need to know about Alex Reese is that he was a key player on the 2020-21 Alabama Crimson Tide basketball team.
I get it, the criticisms of Reese's play throughout his Crimson Tide career have been a topic of discussion on more than one occasion. It's fair to be critical of a player. It's a part of enjoying sports and analyzing why our favorite teams are falling short of a goal goes hand in hand with the entire discussion.
However, Reese was never really deserving of all the hate he's gotten over the past few years. He averaged 31% from three his entire career as a big man in a small man's offense. Despite that being a perfectly reasonable average, Reese only averaged about four three-point shots per game.
Alabama featured three superstar players against the wealth of talent in college basketball, but yet Reese garnered the ire of critics for truthfully no reason. Yeah, his work on the boards and in the paint wasn't always ideal. But not every player is perfect, especially in a sport like basketball where skill sets are incredibly versatile despite only five players being on the court for each team.
Sure, that's elementary, but sometimes the basics of a sport can do more to tell the story of a player in lieu of digging up unrelated failings. After all, Reese isn't even the most popular player in recent Crimson Tide athletics to find himself in trouble off the court. He's just the easiest target because of the on-court criticisms hurled his way regularly by Twitter know-it-alls.
Reese played meaningful minutes throughout his four years in Tuscaloosa, oftentimes through injury and cold streaks giving his all for the Crimson Tide: no different than your favorite player in any sport. That's the mark of a champion.
When the team needed him to hit just his second attempt of the game on a bum left hip, off the bench, draped by three defenders to send the Sweet 16 matchup with UCLA into overtime, it was Alex Reese.
Regardless of the final outcome, Crimson Tide fans will always be left with a lasting image of Reese hitting that buzzer-beater. Despite all of the shortcomings, criticisms, staff turnover, the sins of the past, relinquishing his starting spot -- all of it be damned. Reese displayed the grit, the character, the leadership, the clutch mentality, the sweet stroke from three -- everything that defines what head coach Nate Oats's Crimson Tide has and will embody in one shot.
That's something worth remembering.
That's something worth bringing up a year from now.