Juvonte Reddic’s senior campaign was a roller coaster. While Italy isn’t the NBA, Reddic is a talented basketball player whose career is just beginning.
After the 2012-13 season, Juvonte Reddic looked like a player who could blossom into a legitimate NBA first round draft pick. His combination of size, athleticism, and midrange jumper made him look like a role-player with a bright future coming off of the bench in the NBA.
One year later, Juvonte Reddic is headed to Italy’s premier basketball league to play for Victoria Libertas Pesaro. Located on the eastern coast of Italy, Pesaro is near San Marino. Their basketball season begins on October 12th.
Rumors trying to explain his pedestrian play and occasional disappearances are aplenty, but one thing is for sure, Juvonte Reddic statistically regressed his final season in every statistical area except rebounds (8.1 to 8.4) and blocks (0.9 to 1.2). In addition to looking disengaged at times, he watched his PPG fall from 14.6 to 11.7, his FG% fall from .569 to .504, and his FT% fall from .707 to .541.
Still, Reddic is one of the best VCU bigs to ever wear Black & Gold. He finished 14th in scoring (1,438), 3rd in rebounds (895), 6th in blocks (123), 8th in steals (160), and tied 3rd with Larry Sanders in double-doubles (28) at VCU. Despite moving to one of the better basketball leagues in the world, Reddic has the skill and style to contribute from day one.
At least one VCU senior has now signed a professional contract each of the last fifteen seasons. Reddic will join former Rams currently playing in Europe including Mike Anderson (Finland), Jamal Shuler (France), Jamie Skeen (Belgium), Bradford Burgess (Belgium), and Darius Theus (Netherlands).
Future NBA Opportunities
After watching former teammate Troy Daniels go from obscure NBA D-League shooter to NBA Playoff hero in a matter of weeks, Reddic might have been tempted to test his skills in the NBA D-League–but he was not invited to either summer leagues, did not sign any contracts for training camps, and it appears he did not workout for any NBA teams.
Hope is not lost. EuroBasket projects Reddic as a starter on a team that currently features Kendall Williams (New Mexico) and Shawn Jones (MTSU) in addition to some Italian talent.
The roster is unfinished, but last season’s roster featured even more talent and few good role models. Former Texas A&M guard Elston Turner Jr. led the team in scoring and earned additional opportunities to workout for the NBA this offseason before moving to an arguably better European league in France.
O.D. Anosike is an even better role model. A 6-foot-8 big man out of Siena, he averaged 14.3 PPG, 13.1 RPG, and 1.2 SPG while shooting 58% from the field during his rookie campaign. A big man who regressed during his senior season, Anosike turned himself into one of the most valuable players in Italy in his first season. Despite not being invited to either summer league after college, his solid professional play earned him an opportunity playing for the Celtics this summer.
Insights to Italy
When faced with the NBA’s new one-and-done rules, the nation’s top high school prospect Brandon Jennings signed a $1.2 million deal with Victoria Libertas Pesaro’s competitor Lottomatica Virtus Roma in 2009. Not much later, he sent home a warning from Europe.
“I’ve gotten paid on time once this year,” Jennings said in an e-mail message. “They treat me like I’m a little kid. They don’t see me as a man. If you get on a good team, you might not play a lot. Some nights you’ll play a lot; some nights you won’t play at all. That’s just how it is.”
Still, international basketball is quickly evolving. With the financial crisis in the rearview mirror and better-and-better talent ending up over seas, playing in Italy in 2015 should be a different experience than playing in Italy in 2009.
From Amar’e Stoudemire Big Man Camp and LeBron James Skills Academy to entire NBA outsider in one year is a hard fall. Despite the stumble, Juvonte Reddic appears to be headed to a good fit for his skills and abilities. If he takes care of business, he could earn workouts and summer league opportunities one year from now.
Photos by: Will Weaver