In today's high pressure college basketball environment, you'll be unlikely to find a 6-8 center averaging 1.6 points and 2.1 rebounds and suggest he'll be in the NBA two years afterwards. Yet, you'll be unlikely to find the heart and hustle of a Don Reid, one of Georgetown's hardest working players of any era.
Reid arrived at Georgetown a bonafide project, at 6-8, he averaged only 10 points a game in high school. In his first five games at Georgetown, he shot 1-10 from the field. Reid never gave up, however, improving his shooting to nearly 60% the rest of the season. Starting ten games as a power forward alongside Alonzo Mourning, Reid struggled offensively and was benched in place of Brian Kelly midway in the 1991-92 season, finishing with 11 points in his final 14 games. For his sophomore year, Reid was second string to Othella Harrington, with no starts and another 1.6 point per game effort. Again, he did not give up.
In 1993, Reid's off-season work convinced coach John Thompson to start him at center and move Harrington to power forward, and Reid responded. An 11 point, 10 rebound game versus Memphis State was an early highlight of the 1993-94 season, one of five double digit rebounding efforts that season. His 15 points and 11 rebounds against Villanova was a season high, matched with a 15 point seven rebound effort against Illinois in the 1994 NCAA's.
Reid led the team in scoring during just one game in 1994-95, a 21 point effort versus Morgan State. Nonetheless, Reid always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, none more so than on March 19, 1995 in the second round of the NCAA's.
Georgetown had five straight second round losses entering the game versus Weber State, and appeared to be heading for a sixth when it fouled Weber's leading scorer with :08 to play and a tie score. Off the missed free throw, freshman Allen Iverson raced down the court for a chance to win the game in regulation. Iverson's shot was short, but Reid was in position to grab the errant shot and lay it up at the buzzer, the first last-second win for the Hoyas in seven years.
Four days later, North Carolina ended the Hoyas' 1994-95 season and presumably, the career of Don Reid. To the surprise of many, Reid was selected with the 58th and last pick in the NBA draft, a pick dubbed in some pro drafts as irrelevant.
Not to Don Reid.
"This kid is a find, I'm telling you," said NBA great Joe Dumars following the draft. "And if he's not, I'll eat every word I'm telling you."
The last pick of the draft, Reid made the Pistons' team that fall. "Players came to me and said, 'we need him in the starting lineup because of what he brings to this team'", said head coach Doug Collins. "For a 6-8 rookie to start [at center] in the NBA, you have to be a special player."
Don Reid again exceeded expectations--he played seven years in the NBA, with a torn Achilles tendon ending his career in the 2002-03 exhibition season. Much like his play at Georgetown, Reid was known in the NBA not for his scoring average (3.6 ppg) but for his mental toughness, and was named to the Pistons' All-Time Top 100 list at the conclusion of his pro career.