5-Star Cam Reddish on NYC Jam: 'The Floor Will Be Open & I'll Take Advantage'

David GardnerStaff WriterAugust 8, 2017

Westtown School's Cameron Reddish #22 drives to the hoop against Hillcrest Prep during a high school basketball game at the 2017 Hoophall Classic on Saturday, January 14,, 2017, in Springfield, MA.. Westtown School won. (AP Photot/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

Midway through the 2015-16 high school season, Westtown School (Pennsylvania) was cruising. Led by senior point guard Jair Bolden, the Moose had started the season 10-0 and appeared well on their way to a fourth trip in five years to the Pennsylvania Independent Schools Athletic Association finals. Then Bolden was sidelined with a shoulder injury.

To replace Bolden (who now plays at George Washington) at the point, Westtown coach Seth Berger turned to Cameron Reddish. A sophomore playing his first season with the team, the 6’6” and growing Reddish had been billed as a wing. But Berger saw in Reddish a calm decision-maker capable of commanding the floor. At first, though, the transition was rocky.

“Going from off the ball to on the ball is hard for anyone,” Berger said. “Our turnovers went from about 10 a game to about 17. He went from a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio to 1-to-3. His shooting percentage dropped. And we lost four out of our next five games.”

Gregory Payan/Associated Press

Berger called a team meeting, and Reddish told him he felt handcuffed in the offense. Berger responded, “When is the last time I told you you’ve taken a bad shot?” Together, they could only come up with two instances, and Reddish realized he’d been the one governing his own game. From then on out, he starred, finishing the season with 11 points per game and a third-team All-State nod. He also helped bring Westtown School its first state title.

Now entering his senior season, Reddish is one of the most coveted prospects in the world, currently No. 5 in the class of 2018 on Scout.com. After a long summer with USA Basketball’s U19 team in Egypt and the Nike EYBL circuit with Team Final, Reddish will attend the first-ever NYC Jam in Harlem on August 11.

At the NYC Jam, a two-on-two tournament inspired by NBA Jam and sponsored by Bleacher Report, he’ll join Louis King to form Team USA. It’ll be an ideal format for Reddish, who now is 6’7” and has even more advanced ball skills. He has excellent shooting mechanics, and his defensive tenacity and wingspan will be on full display on a more wide-open court.  

“I haven’t played full-court two-on-two in a long time,” Reddish said. “I play with my boys at home, but never very seriously. This will be a great chance for me to showcase my ball-handling skills. The floor will be open, and I’ll take advantage.

In the summer after that first title with Westtown School, Reddish attempted to qualify for the U17 national team, which was set to compete in Spain. A year earlier, he’d been cut during the first week of tryouts for the U16 team. And although he had a strong start to the U17 camp, a sports hernia kept him out of the competition.

Back at Westtown School that winter, Berger asked him if he was ready to inherit the responsibilities of being the school’s starting point guard. Berger, who founded hoops brand And1, is a players’ coach, and he wanted his star player to pick—and commit—to his position.

“I told him,” Berger said, ‘When you came to Westtown you thought you were Tracy McGrady, and I thought you were Penny Hardaway mixed with Chris Paul. Are you ready for the bumps and bruises of playing point guard?’”

Reddish sent him a two-word text back: “I’m ready.”

Gregory Payan/Associated Press

With the help of Mohamed Bamba (signed with Texas), Anthony Ochefu (Stony Brook), Brandon Randolph (Arizona) and class of 2018 forward Jake Forrester, Reddish helped the Moose repeat as state champions. This time, he averaged 16.2 points per game and finished first-team All-State. Earlier this summer, he went to Colorado Springs to make his final attempt at playing for a USA Basketball developmental team.

“After not being able to go to Spain, this was one of my main goals,” Reddish told B/R at the tryouts. “This summer is going to be big for me.”

Reddish did make the cut for the John Calipari-coached team, and he posted 10.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in Cairo as part of a third-place USA Basketball finish. Since then, he has participated in the Peach Jam, where he dazzled with a 44-point game; and the Fab 48 event in Las Vegas.

This fall, he said he wants to focus on making his official visits—he hopes to take all five—and plans to commit in November or December. He has offers from most major schools, most notably Duke, Kentucky, Arizona and hometown team Villanova. Some pundits have placed Duke at the top of his list, and others have given Kentucky the edge given his growing relationship with Calipari, but Reddish has made every effort to keep his recruitment wide open.

DURHAM, NC - OCTOBER 22: High school basketball player Cameron Reddish, center, (Westtown School - Norristown, PA) attends Countdown To Craziness at Cameron Indoor Stadium on October 22, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

“I want to focus on winning another championship at [Westtown],” he said. “And I want to work on my senior project and keep my grades up. My whole family and coaches have been good about this process. They’re letting me do whatever I want.”

No one yet knows what coach he’ll play for a year from now, but the man who gets to coach him this winter is eager to have him back.

“Cam is the most complete high school player I’ve ever seen,” Berger said. “Aside from shot-blocking and rim protection, I would say he’s the best at every other category every time he’s on the basketball court. He’s a great scorer, a great decision-maker and a fantastic rebounder.

“It’ll be interesting to watch his decision, but I’ll tell you one thing: No matter where he goes next year, he’ll be one-and-done. I don’t know if he’s ready to compete in the NBA today, but he’s close. And after another two seasons, look out.”

                                              

For NYC Jam details visit NYCJam.co or contact Jeff@nycjam.co with any questions about the event.