With a single 45-second video message on Twitter, five-star New Jersey power forward Naz Reid changed the future of the LSU men’s basketball program forever.
Reid announced his commitment to LSU in early September on Twitter—the end of a long recruitment which included flirtations with some of the top programs in the country.
— Naz Reid (@NazReid) September 12, 2017
A 6-foot, 10-inch, 240-point power forward, Reid is the second five-star commitment coach Will Wade has for the 2018 recruiting class, joining Louisiana native Ja’Vonte Smart, who committed over the summer.
Reid chose the Tigers over Cal, Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, UCLA, Villanova and Arizona, among others.
His high school coach, Dave Boff, said LSU is getting a program-changing player—a guy who can help push the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament.
“He’s a tremendous talent,” Boff said. “He has the size and the body. If you just watch him on the court, that’s the first thing that stands out. But he has a polished, refi ned game. He can score in the post and he has a developing, evolving midrange and long distance game. He’s a terrific player.”
And now, he’s part of LSU’s future.
Reid played AAU basketball on the Under Armour circuit. He was a member of Sports U, which competed against some of the top players in the country.
While part of that team, the Roselle Catholic High School standout shined, jumping to the top of several recruiting boards, averaging 14.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game, while shooting 48 percent from the fi eld.
His path to LSU is interesting—a commitment landed through a lot of shared connections. Reid was a member of USA Basketball’s U16 National Team, which competed against other countries in the summer of 2015. While on that team, Reid played with Smart and the two players hit it off , developing a close friendship.
When Smart committed to LSU, he vowed that he would work hard to make sure that other top players would do the same. At the time, he said he spoke to Reid regularly, adding that he “had a good feeling” about him eventually ending up at LSU.
“We’re not done,” Smart said. “I think there are others who are going to be coming, too. Coach Wade is changing the culture and I think a lot of people are taking note and are getting ready to buy in.”
Reid also hit it off with Wade, too, which helped make it easier to pull the trigger.
The five-star prospect came to LSU on an official visit over the summer, then told reporters that he was excited to see the energy and passion that Wade brings to the program. He followed the official visit up with an unofficial visit in August, which allowed him to show the campus to his mother.
“It’s a great place,” Reid said. “The campus, the people. It all just sort of fits.”
And then there’s a romantic angle, as well.
Reid is dating Raven Fairley, an incoming freshman on the LSU women’s basketball team ad fellow New Jersey native. During his unofficial visit in August, Reid told reporters that the trip was “to see my girl.”
Many recruiting analysts have said that the combination of Smart, Wade and Fairley all helped create a perfect storm that was too good for Reid to pass up. So now, he’s LSU-bound and the Tigers are in a great position to quickly turn their fate around.
With the two five-star prospects, LSU is forecast to have one of the best recruiting classes in the SEC—if not the entire country.
There are other talented chips still on the table in the Class of 2018, which could add to LSU’s riches. But regardless of the supporting cast, the two building blocks are now in place.
Boff said LSU got a program-changing player—the type of guy who will make everyone on the court better just with his presence. He added that Reid is a high-IQ player on the floor and a man of character off it, which should make him an immediate leader in the Tigers’ locker room.
“He’s a great kid,” Boff said. “He does things the right way. He’s humble and he’s committed. He works extremely hard.”
Illustration: Sarah Amacker