Tarleton State added to an already proven group of big men Friday, when head coach Lonn Reisman announced the signing of Division I transfer E.J. Reed from Long Island University-Brooklyn.
Reed, a Mesquite native, played two seasons at LIU-Brooklyn, a member of the Northeast Conference, and the 6-6 forward led the Blackbirds in scoring at 12.3 points per game as a sophomore this past season. He also averaged 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots.
"I couldn't imagine finding a junior college transfer with two years with the ability of E.J. at that position," said Tarleton associate head coach Chris Reisman.
Reisman compares Reed to juco transfers because like them, he has two years of eligibility remaining. Reisman also said to his knowledge, Tarleton has never had a transfer who previously led a Division I team in scoring.
Reed started all 29 games at LIU-Brooklyn this past season, and averaged 25.8 minutes. He was a 44 percent 3-point shooter and had three 20-point outbursts among his 20 double-digit scoring performances.
Reed scored a college career-best 25 points at Mount St. Mary's on Feb. 1, 2013, the most points by a LIU-Brooklyn freshman since 2007. He had 24 against the same opponent exactly a year later as a sophomore. He poured 15 points through the net in front of 17,472 fans at Indiana on Nov. 12, 2013. As a freshman, he earned a spot on the NEC All-Rookie Team.
"I believe the strengths of my game are getting to the cup and versatility," said Reed in a Friday phone interview. "I can score in a variety of ways - posting up, from the 3-point line, in the mid-range game or going to the hole. I also feel like I play pretty good defense, and I like blocking shots."
He admits, though, there are areas of his game he is working to improve.
"I want to improve my overall strength and my ability to use my left hand, and I want to show more consistency from the 3-point line," he said. "I feel like Coach Reisman and the other coaches can help me with that and with other things off the court to make me a better player while also making me a better person."
Reed, a four-year varsity letter winner and District 11-5A MVP at Mesquite High School near Dallas, says he is leaving LIU-Brooklyn for one simple reason - homesickness.
"I'm very family oriented, and I've been missing my mom, my sister and my nephew," Reed said. "Those are the people who keep me grounded, so I just needed to get back closer to home."
There are other Division II options near the DFW Metroplex, such as Midwestern State in Wichita Falls and Texas A&M-Commerce, but Reed says Tarleton was the right fit from the start.
"Overall, it seems like a great program athletically, and academically, too, being part of the Texas A&M system," Reed said. "And on my visit the first thing I noticed is how all the guys and the coaches are like a big family. It just seemed like the right place for me.
"Tarleton is serious about winning, and I'm the same way," he added. "I love to win and hate to lose. I'll do everything in my power to help the team keep the winning tradition going."
He joins a Tarleton team returning 11 lettermen after going 28-3 and winning its second straight Lone Star Conference tournament title as well as a share of the league's regular-season crown. The Texans reached the NCAA Division II playoffs for the 11th time in 13 years.
Reed joins a mix of big men that includes high-flying Davene Carter, an LSC All-Defensive selection, as well as versatile scoring threat Tashawn Mabry and reserves Damion Clemons and Jakob Damstra.
Reed is the fourth member of Tarleton's 2014 recruiting class. On Thursday, Reisman announced the signing of three high school guards - Deshawn Riddick of Pflugerville Connally, Nosa Ebomwonyi of Pflugerville and Charles Beuregard of Garland Lake View Centennial.