By ROBIN FAMBROUGH
Written for the LSWA
For Reece Beekman, every possession and each basketball game are a means to an end. The Scotlandville High senior is at his best when he is in the middle of the action.
Becoming the center of attention is icing on the cake for Beekman, along with the Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance/LSWA Mr. Basketball award.
“I like having the ball in my hands,” Beekman said. “Since I was little, I’ve played pretty much the same way. I handle the ball and when the defense comes to me, I know somebody else is open, so I get the ball open.”
Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample could use many words to describe the 6-foot-3 Virginia signee. The one he chooses is facilitator.
“Reece has always been a pass-first guy … a true facilitator,” Sample said. “Guys like that don’t always wind up being the center of attention. People usually see the guy who scores the most first.
“He is at his best when he gets the ball in the open floor. He reads defenses well and his teammates know to be ready because he will get the ball to them when they have an open shot.
“Reece also knows when to take it and score himself. He has a special feel for the game.”
Beekman’s feel for the game was never more evident than this season, leading the Hornets to a 35-3 record, a fourth straight Division I title and a No. 12 national ranking. He averaged 19.4 points, 9.9 assists, 9.1 rebounds, 2.7 blocked shots and 2.2 steals a game.
Work with a personal trainer in the offseason added explosiveness to the gifts Beekman already had – including the wing span of a player 6-7. Even though he remained the aggressive catalyst, big numbers came in bunches for Beekman.
- 40 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and five blocks vs. Live Oak.
- 29 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists vs. Masters Academy in the Montverde tournament.
- 19 points, 14 assists and six rebounds vs. 5A semifinalist and District 4-5A rival Walker.
- 19 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds vs. Alabama power Sidney Lanier.
“I’ve seen Reece Beekman since he was an eighth-grader, the Milwaukee kid who come to Scotlandville Middle,” Madison Prep coach Jeff Jones said.
“The high basketball IQ, the ability to find the open man and to hand off the ball has always been there. Two things were different this year – his defense and his athleticism.
“He locked down whoever he guarded. He was stronger and faster. He exploded when he drove to the basket and he would go over the defense to dunk. I saw him dunk more times this year than I did the previous three years.”
Ask Beekman about the upgrades to his game and he settles on one word – consistency.
“I wanted to get stronger and faster,” Beekman said. “Being more consistent with everything I do and especially with my shot was what I worked on.”
The death of his older brother, 22-year-old Washington State safety Bryce Beekman last month, has galvanized his resolve to excel.
“He was everything to us … our glue,” Beekman said. “What I do from now on is for him.”