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Penn State Basketball: As Reaves Racks Up The Steals, It All Comes Back To An XBox

by on February 05, 2018 3:40 PM

"I had five steals?" Penn State guard Josh Reaves said, his eyes wide. "I didn't think I had any."

The longer you talk to Reaves the more it becomes apparent this isn't the only thing he doesn't remember about his games. His SportsCenter mentioned dunk against Iowa? It's a little fuzzy. His performance any given night? Just kind of a vague memory of a game taking place.

It sounds bad, but in reality Reaves is just that locked in. Is Penn State winning? That's the only question or thought in his mind, the rest just sort of comes and goes.

But the longer you watch Reaves play the more that makes sense. Reaves is fast, his hands popping in and out for steals, 48 so far through his 20 games played. He doesn't have time to be thinking about his highlights.

"I count the dribbles," Reaves said of his focus. "You just have to be fast."

And the key to his success came years ago thanks to his older brother who had longer arms and nearly 40 pounds on Reaves even still to this day.

"He was a bully," Reaves quipped with a smile. "He would hold things up over his head, the Xbox controller, the remote, my calculator. I had to be quick."

Years later that speed has helped Reaves see his name pop up in NBA circles. Even as a junior on a middle of the pack Big Ten team, Reaves' style of play, and his stat-stuffing abilities have turned heads. From his athleticism around the rim to his ability to make winning plays that don't fit in the box score, any team in America would improve with a Josh Reaves on their roster.

"It's nice to know," Reaves said. "That this style of play isn't dead, that people appreciate it."

It's something Reaves wants to pass down to the players that come after him. He spends time watching film with freshman guard Jamari Wheeler, a speedy kid not unlike Reaves a few years ago. If you squint you might confuse the two on the court.

And that film watching, it's Reaves paying it forward.

"When I was a freshman Brandon Taylor pulled me aside," Reaves said. "He helped me learn when I could and couldn't try to do certain things (on defense)."

"I have two speeds now," Reaves said of his own development. "I used to just go fast, now I can slow it down."

Whatever the case, the Nittany Lions will take it, and if you're not careful, Reaves might take the ball from your teams best player and head the other way.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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