Former Pearland roundballer gets a taste of NBA

PEARLAND — Former Pearland basketball standout Cameron "Cam" Reynolds earned three letters under head coach Steve Buckelew and helped guide the Oilers to a District 22-5A championship as a senior and earned the district Most Valuable Player honor. He served as team captain both junior and senior years.

Reynolds continued his education and basketball prowess at Tulane University where he concluded his collegiate career as Tulane’s all-time leader in games played (135) and is one of just 10 Green Wave players to amass over 1,300 points and 600 rebounds.

Overall at Tulane, Reynolds shot 38.7 percent from the field, 33.4 percent from 3-point range and 71.6 percent from the foul line. He was named 2017 American Athletic Conference Most Improved Player of the Year.

Reynolds didn't want to see his playing career end in college as he had his sights set on the NBA.

Because of his hard work, Reynolds got his wish when he signed a 10-day contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Most players who sign a short contract at the end of the season are underwhelming, but that was quite the opposite of the rookie right wing Reynolds.

His stint with the Timberwolves turned out to be 19 games and he showed many signs of being an NBA player.

“This opportunity means the world to me because it shows what hard work can do,” Reynolds said. “If you stay with the process and keep a strong foundation, it shows how far you can go. This is a stepping stone for me on the way to achieving my NBA dream.”

Despite going unpicked in the NBA draft, Reynolds worked out in front of seven NBA teams in the weeks leading up to the annual event and his first was with the Kings. He also showed off his talents for the Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans.

There's a reason why the Timberwolves signed Reynolds to two 10-day contracts before signing him outright. He's a culture fit and a player that GM Scott Layden was high on from the beginning.

Standing in at 6′-8″ and 225 pounds, his greatest quality is shooting the ball. Which has been evidently clear through college, the G League and now with Minnesota.

In his final season at Tulane, he averaged 15.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. He shot the ball 40.8 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from 3-point range. His best season was during his 2016-17 campaign, but his final two years were a success, nonetheless.

He also spent some time in the G League for the Stockton Kings and showed off his ability to score and shoot the ball. He averaged 16 points per game on 45.9 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from 3-point range on 7.1 attempts per contest.

Reynolds tallied a career-high 19 points (7-11 FG, 5-7 3Pt), six rebounds and one assist in 26 minutes in the Timberwolves' 99-95 loss to the Nuggets.

The rookie's banner night was fueled by some hot shooting from downtown along with elevated minutes being available thanks to the team holding several key perimeter players out with injuries.

Reynolds' contract for 2019-20 isn't guaranteed, so it's uncertain if he'll break camp as a member of the Timberwolves roster despite enjoying some decent moments in his first taste of the NBA.

Over 19 outings with Minnesota, he averaged 5.0 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.1 triples in 13.6 minutes per game while shooting 42.3 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from distance.

A player like Reynolds can work himself through the NBA's developmental system into a career is a testament both to Reynolds and to the system that produced him.

Going forward, Reynolds needs to continue to develop his 3-point shooting and expand his game around the rim. Reynolds is the ultimate team player. He's competitive and wants to play as much as possible. That attitude often leads to NBA success and after showing what he can do, there's little doubt that Reynolds will enter the offseason ready to work.

It will be fun to see him come back into camp and battle for a spot with a full NBA offseason under his belt. Nothing is certain, but it wouldn't be wise to bet against him.