UNIVERSITY PARK — Former Penn State men’s basketball guard and 2019 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Josh Reaves has agreed to a two-way contract to join the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.
“This means so much to me, knowing all the hard work I have put in throughout middle school, high school and college, it’s all paying off,” said Reaves by phone. “I went into all my workouts with the mentality of putting my head down and showcasing my abilities, athletically and how I developed over time. I know it’s not the end of the journey; I know the hard work is not going to stop by any means. This is a step in the right direction. I’m really blessed to have this opportunity and I’m going to try to make the most of it.”
At Penn State, the left-handed Reaves played with intensity on both ends of the floor with an innate ability on defense and also thrilled Nittany Lion fans with high-flying dunks, earning him TV time for several top-10 plays on ESPN's SportsCenter.
One of Penn State's most versatile players, Reaves scored 1,079 career points, collected 540 rebounds and had 310 assists to go along with his 250 total steals as a Nittany Lion. He is one of only two players in Nittany Lion history to compile such totals. In his final home game in March 2019, Reaves scored a career-best 26 points and collected 11 rebounds against Illinois.
“There has never been any question in my mind that Josh (Reaves) could play at the professional level,” said Pat Chambers, Penn State men's basketball head coach. “He has the athleticism, skills and mindset to be a contributor for any team and have a long and prosperous career. We’re extremely proud of him.”
Reaves became the only Big Ten player to lead the league in steals in three consecutive seasons. He ended his career second on Penn State's all-time steals chart with 250 and ranks seventh on the Big Ten career list for that statistical category. As a junior and senior, he was selected as a member of the Big Ten’s All-Defensive team (2018 and 2019).
Assigned to opponents’ top player, Reaves was the nucleus of a Nittany Lion defense that, in 2018-19, held 25 of 32 opponents below their scoring averages — 13 by an average of more than 10 points and two by more than 20 points. The last two seasons produced two of the top-five steal totals in Penn State history, while opponents’ point totals ranked among the 10 lowest in the program's Big Ten era.
Reaves is the only starter who does not return for the Nittany Lions’ 2019-20 season. Rising senior forwards and all-conference candidates Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins anchor a squad that won seven of its last 10 games and set Penn State’s single-season scoring total for Big Ten games.