Coach Billy Lange continued to show off his recruiting skills after Erik Reynolds of Potomac MD committed to play for Saint Joseph’s University in 2021. Reynolds, who stands at 6’2, is a dynamic guard with a skill set that fits nicely in Coach Lange’s pace and space offensive scheme. The four star recruit is Lange’s most impressive recruiting achievement and the most talented prospect to commit to Hawk Hill in recent years.
While still unproven on the court, Coach Lange has given us all the evidence we need to know that he can bring talent to Saint Joe’s. He has taken a roster which was greatly reduced after the Martelli departure and built it up in over a year. Coach leveraged the transfer portal and recruitment trail to add both athletic guards and wings. The latest recruited player, Erik Reynolds, has only proven that the recruiting abilities of Coach Lange stretch farther than just the 2020 season. His recruiting prowess is not a one time deal.
Overcoming Pandemic Precautions
There are two things that make this commitment noteworthy. The first is the fact that Coach Lange signed a four star recruit in the middle of a pandemic. In Reynolds’ blog post at SI.com, the incoming senior explained just how the pandemic impacted his college recruitment experience. With no ability to meet with coaches in person, or visit campuses, Reynolds had to make a life changing decision based on Zoom calls and emails.
For Coach Lange, the challenge was even harder. He had to convince someone to pick Saint Joe’s over: George Mason, Xavier, VCU, and Richmond, all with a webcam and a winning personality.
The second thing that made this signing noteworthy was that Coach Lange recruited against many Atlantic 10 rivals. All of these teams had much better records than Saint Joe’s last season. Coach Lange had to convince Mr. Reynolds to pick a program that is still in the middle of a rebuild. No one truly knows what the team will look this year even with the transfers Saint Joe’s landed.
“Could Be” and “What If”
The simple fact is Saint Joe’s is still speaking in terms of “could be” and “what ifs”. There just hasn’t been enough time to put all the new pieces together and see the scheme in its fullness. But, this is what I love about Coach Lange. He didn’t let a bad record get in his way. He set out to make the best case as to why Hawk Hill was the place to be moving forward.
Even Reynolds admitted to Coach Lange’s persistence. In the previously mentioned SI blog post, Reynolds wrote that Coach Lange and the Saint Joe’s staff was the program that spent the most time catering to the young star. Coach Lange’s persistence, even when faced with limitations, landed his roster an outstanding player. Coach Lange successfully overcame a bad record, and pandemic restrictions, to convince Reynolds to pick a school he has never seen.
There is no doubt that the 2020-2021 season is up in the air. No one knows what schools will commit to playing until November comes around. Unfortunately, the pessimistic side of me thinks that fans of Saint Joe’s basketball may never get to see the 2020 roster play this year. This means that everyone may have to wait until 2021 to see Saint Joe’s newest additions come together on the court.
With that said, I would still like to be optimistic. The 2020 roster looks to have the pieces needed to at least climb out of the bottom quarter of the league. In addition, the signing of Erik Reynolds has secured the talent pipeline into the 2021 season. It is now up to Coach Lange to prove he isn’t just an excellent recruiter. Hawk Hill needs to see Coach Lange prove he can win games on the court. Exciting recruitment news and intriguing transfers mean nothing if they do not translate into wins.
For more Saint Joe’s coverage, follow me on twitter @Jelly_Morelli and check out my podcast “Tony’s Takes” on Apple iTunes