Updated Wed, Jan 29, 2014 5:09 pm
Josh Reagan has only played the game of basketball for four short years. The Cleveland native is already changing the face of Rio Grande basketball having only played eight games in the red and white.
An inexperienced Reagan laced up his shoes and picked up the basketball for the first time during his senior year of high school in 2010. Reagan played with an unexpected veteran-level basketball IQ from the tipoff as he led the Lakewood Lancers to a 61-38 victory over Berea. In his debut, he netted 26 points and shot 13-of-15 from the field.
That tremendous performance on a chilly November night in Lakewood, Ohio, was only a stepping-stone to his promising basketball career.
Reagan packed his bags and traveled to play at Delaware Technical Community College after his senior season. Josh averaged 19.1 points and 12.2 rebounds for the Hawks who reached the NJCAA national tournament.
After only one season at Delaware Tech, Reagan traded in his green and white jersey for a red and blue one as he returned home to Cleveland for a short stint at Cuyahoga Community College.
Reagan, a 6-foot-6, 235-pound power forward, averaged 25 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals per game for the Challengers in the 2012-13 season. His production ranked him third nationally in scoring and sixth in rebounding among all NJCAA Division II teams.
Reagan once again hit the road to display his basketball skill set on a larger stage. He journeyed from the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to the alma mater of Bevo Francis and hometown of the original Bob Evans, in rural Rio Grande, Ohio.
“I liked the campus and the way everybody acted,” Reagan said. “I talked to the team from last year and got advice from Evan [Legg], D.D. [Joiner], and Jermaine [Warmack]. I just felt like it was the right decision to come here.”
He signed the dotted line to play for Rio Grande on May 10, 2013.
Reagan was reunited with a familiar face in 6-foot-1 point guard, Gabe Davila, who signed to play for Rio later on the same day.
“Once I heard that Gabe was transferring here it made my decision a lot easier,” Reagan said. “It’s been nice to have someone that I know on the team that I can talk to. At this point in the season everyone is pretty close but it’s nice having someone to talk to from home.”
Reagan wasn’t able to step foot on the hardwood for game day for the first half of the season per transfer regulations.
Patience is key for Reagan who was sidelined for the first half of his season at Delaware Tech.
“It was definitely frustrating. In the beginning I just wanted to play,” he said.
Being forced to take a seat on the bench and watch was tough for the playmaker at first, but the resilience he showcased while sidelined aided him later in the season.
“We had a lot of home games but I had to sit out for the first 13 games,” Reagan said, “but they [Rio] did very well and I rooted for them. It was a humbling experience.”
Rio Grande was picked to finished 10th in the Mid-South Conference in the preseason ranking. But no one told the RedStorm as they jumped out to an impressive 7-4 record in the first half of the season. 18 points stood in the way of a perfect record. .
Reagan finally got the chance to lace up for the RedStorm during the Southeastern game of the Jackson Hewitt Holiday Classic in Florida. An injury prevented him from playing the full game as he finished with only three points.
The muscular forward came off of the bench one week later in Newt Oliver Arena versus Cincinnati-Clermont and made an immediate impact. He finished the night with 14 points and five rebounds in only 16 minutes of action and led Rio to a 94-92 victory. Reagan offered Rio a big presence that the RedStorm had lacked, not having a starting center on the roster.
“Josh gives us a toughness that maybe we didn’t have before. He gives the guys around him confidence,” said head coach Ken French.
But Reagan wasn’t done, as he netted a season-high 20 points and snagged three boards in Rio’s 66-65 win at the Cumberlands three days later.
Reagan continued to put up big numbers two days later, matching his season high in the RedStorm’s 79-72 upset over No. 2 Georgetown. He added seven rebounds, an assist, and a block to lift the RedStorm to the program’s first three-game Mid-South Conference winning streak. His prolific performance earned him the honor of MSC Player of the Week.
His leadership and determination to win carried over to his teammates. The RedStorm went on to win three more games en route to a six-game winning streak.
“Once we started playing together it just started rolling,” Reagan said. “We started to have more fun playing.”
Rio’s winning streak came to an end when the RedStorm fell 96-78 to Pikeville but Reagan used that loss as a learning tool and exploded two days later.
His biggest moment of the year came on Jan. 25 when he netted a game-high 46 points. Reagan added nine rebounds to lead his resilient team to an 88-85 win over Bluefield College, earning him a second MSC Player of the Week award.
When the game is on the line or if his team is on a hot scoring run, Reagan makes his home crowd erupt in deafening cheers as they root on their elusive playmaker. Reagan does his best Kevin Garnett impression as he forcefully bangs his arms on his chest and lets out a resounding scream. He has a nuclear reactor inside of him that never quits.
Reagan has captured the MSC’s attention. The RedStorm are on pace to make a run for the conference title and with Reagan on their side for one more year after this season,the rising RedStorm are in good hands for the foreseeable future.