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Mad Ants NBADL

Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Idaho’s Reggie Hearn, a Snider graduate, defends as the Mad Ants’ Bennie Lewis III drives to the basket during the Stampede’s win Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.

Snider grad counts his blessings on Idaho team

Reggie Hearn would never have imagined this, not when he was at Snider. On Saturday night, he had what seemed like an entire section cheering for him the entire game, as he played for the Idaho Stampede in an NBA D-League game against the Mad Ants.

“You can never predict where life is going to take you,” said Hearn, who had six points in 25 minutes, 20 seconds of a 98-94 victory.

“Back at Snider, I wasn’t even sure I was going to play in college. After college, I didn’t know if I was being led to be in the pros. That’s why I keep saying, ‘It’s a blessing to be out here.’ We’ll see where life takes me from here.”

Hearn played at Northwestern from 2009 to 2013 and was named to the Big Ten’s All-Academic team three times – he majored in psychology – and scored 13.4 points a game as a senior.

He was selected by the Stampede in the sixth round of the D-League draft this year and that team is undefeated (8-0) with the league’s highest-scoring player, Pierre Jackson, who had 49 points against the Mad Ants.

The victory wasn’t as sweet as just being at the Coliseum.

“This is a blessing. It’s a blessing from God. I’m just happy to be out here,” said Hearn, 6-foot-4, 210 pounds. “I wasn’t even sure I was going to make the team. I get to come out here, (in the) starting (lineup) by the grace of God, and I’m happy to be out here and have the love and support of all my family and friends.”

Hearn, 22, didn’t get a ton of interest from NBA teams and tried to temper his enthusiasm when he was drafted by Idaho, a destination he hadn’t imagined.

“First of all, I was like, Idaho? I never imagined myself going to Idaho,” Hearn said. “But then I had a chance and I was like, ‘OK.’ A lot of people were quickly saying, ‘Oh, we’ll be at the Dec. 14 game (in Fort Wayne).’ I had to say, ‘Well, you know I have to make the team first, right?’ I was excited, but I had to focus, play to my strengths and work as hard as I can.”

The adjustment hasn’t been all that difficult; he’s averaging 8.8 points and 3.6 rebounds.

“It is a little bit faster and more physical, but I felt I was prepared in that way. I haven’t had too hard of a time adjusting,” he said. “But now that I think about it, the biggest thing has been the (distance of the) 3-point line. My shot has always been kind of flat and when I miss, sometimes I miss bad. So I’m trying to change up my shot a little bit and get some extra oomph on it.”

Those who have advised him on what he can do to make it to the NBA have all said the same thing: “Your best chance is to be a guy who hits corner 3s and plays good solid defense,” Hearn said. “That’s probably your best bet to get on the court and that seems to largely be my role on this team.”