Lions’ late addition adds height to basketball team
In the realm of sports, great situations and moments take time to develop. Hours, days, semesters, and full years have to go by in order for situations to blossom into harmonies of near-perfect orchestration. For the MU Lion’s and MU senior Jared Reando, three-and-a-half semesters went by in order for a serendipitous combination of three-point shooting, athleticism, and size to occur. Better late than never.
In his first game since his high school days in 2005, against Walla Walla University, the 6’8”, 230 lb. center posted a stat line of 10 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks in only 17 minutes of play. Not only did he block three shots, but he also altered many others.
His presence on the court, offensively and defensively, helped propel the Lions to victory that day; optimistically, he’ll have that same effect for the Lions come post season play. A legitimate and effective post player is what MU basketball has been lacking for some time, but 6’8 center Jared Reando will look to fill that hole. He may be the piece that propels the Lions to a regional championship (in the upcoming regional tournament in Lancaster, California) and a reputable national tournament run.
“Defensively, at the very least he contends for many rebounds, which is something we needed,” Jackson Flah, a freshman from Palm Beach, Florida said. “Offensively, just because of his size, he demands double teams which opens it up for everyone else.”
But Reando’s defensive presence is the core reason why Head Coach Curt Bickley recruited him. “We need him to block shots and rebound,” Bickley said. And block and rebound he does – and very well. In his first, and only, six games late in the spring semester, Reando averaged 7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game, including a 3- and 2-block game against Walla Walla University and Northwest Indian. His presence has definitely been felt in his short-lived career, but where did this guy come from and why join so late in the season?
Ever since Jared stepped his size-14 foot on campus, Coach Bickley has asked Reando to join the basketball team, but Reando had to decline the offers for a more academic path, being that he was an Resident Assistant in the dorms and involved with English tutoring.
As an English major, Dr. Schaak papers and community leadership responsibilities have dominated Reando’s schedule for the past three-and-a-half semesters, but now with a very light schedule, Reando was free to play. And Coach Bickley pitched one final offer to the graduating senior.
“Coach came to me and asked me to play, and I was available and interested,” Reando said. “So far, it’s been really great to meet and play with these guys. Everyone has been really welcoming and accommodating.” I can imagine why.
Albeit, slivers of apprehension and anxiety may have crept into the minds of the Lions. It’s a rarity that a college team will add a new player into the mix so deep into the season, and adding a new player will always shake up team chemistry in some way. But the team has indeed accepted and assimilated Reando into the group.
“I added Reando because I knew that this team could handle it,” Bickley said. “So far, it’s worked.”
Reando’s last experience with organized basketball was in the Alaska State 5A basketball championship game, where Reando led his Heritage Christian High School to victory. Even after a seven year hiatus from the game, Reando has exhibited those uncanny shot-blocking and rebounding abilities that led his team to the state title.
“I feel more connected to the game than I thought I would,” Reando said. “There has been some difficulty getting conditioned and understanding plays, but overall it’s been really exciting to be a part of a team again.”
It’s only going to get better, Reando – the skies the limit.
–Gian Cook is Inside MU editor of Muse and a senior Journalism major at Multnomah University.