Ebony Reynolds earns All-American accolade

April 15, 2016

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — It didn’t take long for players and coaches in Region X to recognize Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) freshman women’s basketball player Ebony Reynolds. Now, the rest of the nation knows just what the talented forward is capable of.

Reynolds was awarded National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American honors following a tremendous freshman campaign. She was named to the second team of the national list during a season that saw the Patriots go 8-15 during a turbulent 2015-16 season.

Reynolds averaged 19.1 points and 13.8 rebounds per game in her inaugural college season. Her double-double averages became the norm as the season progressed no matter who the opponent was.

“It means everything to me and was definitely a goal,” Reynolds said of the honor. “It strives you to want more when you figure out that you’re making progress. People are figuring out who you are and you’re finally getting what you worked for; it forces you to keep working hard.

“Playing at this level I’ve become a smarter player not just physically but mentally,” the freshman added. “I know what I have to do off the court to be where I want to be on the court. It feels great and I’m ready for next season to just keep getting better.”

The Patrick County High School graduate said her first season of college basketball was a great experience, and that she enjoyed the challenge of playing a new style of basketball against a different level of competition.

Always present around the basket, her average of more than 10 defensive rebounds per game often led to teams not gaining second-chance looks. While her her inside presence was key, Patriots coach Brian Henderson said her ability to transform her game to the perimeter, while also generating the team’s transition game, became a real asset.

“Ebony came to PHCC mostly being an inside player because she was always one of the biggest and strongest in high school,” Henderson said. “After the first few games of the season, she realized that was not the case in college. Her game grew and she was not only a force inside, but a force on the outside, as well.”

Reynolds shot better than 54 percent from the field for the season and averaged nearly 15 field goal attempts per game. Over the course of the season, the freshman started to develop an outside shot from the wing and baseline and shot 57 percent from 3-point range in her limited attempts from distance. Reynolds said at her size she needed to improve her outside game in hopes of getting strong recruitment from four-year schools.

With a thin roster by season’s end, the forward played more as guard during the Patriots’ final game — a 77-56 loss to Guilford Tech in the opening round of the Region X playoffs. She finished the game with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including a 2-for-3 mark from behind the arc.

“We played against some great teams, and of course, they did nothing but help me get better,” Reynolds said. “It was good to finally play against people of all different sizes and all different speeds. Playing against them made me have to adjust my game and fix my weaknesses.”

A tireless worker on and off the court, Henderson said Reynolds’ work ethic had a positive effect on her teammates. The coach added that she often worked harder for her teammates to succeed than her own personal gain. Next season, Henderson looks for his All-American forward to become a more of a vocal leader during games.

“(Ebony) already leads by example through her work, but now being able to lead the team vocally is the next step,” Henderson said.

Reynolds’ most impressive feat last season was her double-double streak. She went the final 13 games with at least 10 points and 10 rebounds, highlighted by a 22-point, 20-rebound performance at home in a 71-60 win over Guilford Tech on Feb. 18. The 20-20 effort earned her NJCAA, Division II national player of the week honors.

“For me, every game is a new game, what you did last game doesn’t matter if you can’t be consistent. Every game you have to have a new mindset and prepare yourself,” Reynolds said. “When I step onto the court I have to play well for my teammates, not just myself.”

Reynolds hopes to up the ante for 2016-17 and make the first team among the nation’s elite. Her first priority, however, remains doing whatever she can to make PHCC better and lead the Patriots to a winning season. Beyond that, the soon-to-be sophomore said the rest will take care of itself.

“I am a big fan of all my players. My biggest pleasure in this job is seeing them succeed in any and all of their endeavors,” Henderson said. “I see no reason why she can’t gain All-American honors next year also.”

Filed under: Women's Basketball