Is Antonio Reeves the Best Guard in the Country?


Vicky Graff Photo

Antonio Reeves has made the most of his do-over season at Kentucky.

He transferred from Illinois State before the 2022-23 season and by the end of the year he was arguably Kentucky’s best player. He toyed with the idea of turning pro or transferring again — he even went through Senior Day at UK in 2023 — before coming back to Kentucky for a second season.

Reeves said it was “emotional” with his family and all the UK fans supporting him before Wednesday’s win over Vanderbilt.

“I am very appreciative and blessed to be in this position,” he said. “I didn’t expect to come back (to UK) but it was the same emotions really. The last game at Rupp really means a lot to me, and being able to experience it again is everything”

Once the game started Reeves did what he does best — he scored 20 points. It was his sixth straight 20-point game — something no UK player had done since Jamal Murray and 12 in a row eight years ago — and 17th of the season. Reeves has scored in double figures in all but one game this season and also made at least one 3 in every game but one.

Kentucky coach John Calipari believes Reeves’ mid-range game is as “good as anybody in the country” along with being a “great layup shooter” and 50 percent shooter from 3-point range.

“What’s he doing from the foul line? I think he’s missed one in the last 10 games. Every other one he’s made,” Calipari said. “For us, he’s also rebounding (he tied for the team lead against Vanderbilt with six). He’s defending better.

“Look, he gained weight so now he’s a different player. He also has lived in the gym. When he misses he is stunned. Stunned. Because he’s shooting 5,000 shots every two weeks or more. Eight thousand whatever it is. The guy is putting up shots.

“Sometimes you just got to show up every day. Show up every day even if you’re not the best. At your best. You show up and he does.”

Assistant coach Chin Coleman says Reeves is “steady and efficient” with his play and scoring.

“In my opinion Antonio is the best guard in the country. Nobody is shooting 88 (percent from the foul line), 50 from 2 and 45 from 3 is ridiculous,” Coleman said. To do that on a team like this is special. I don’t think a guard in the country is playing better than that.

“He has turned himself into a three-level score. That’s what we wanted him to work on when he came back. He is getting to the rim, getting to the foul line, got a floater. He is a three level scorer because of the work he puts in. He carries the culture of our team.”

Reeves has helped build a culture that could have UK on the brink of March success.

“The young guys stuck with it and got better every day and that is how we got better,” Reeves said. “Everyone was locked into practice and we got better each and every game.” 

* * *

Kentucky plays at Tennessee Saturday at 4 p.m. and with a win would secure the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament.

16 Responses

  1. Don’t know if he is the best, but you would be hard pressed to find someone better considering the competition he plays against and the fact UK gets everyone’s best game. Reeves never gets rattled, doesn’t make a lot of mistakes considering how much he has the ball and doing what he does makes it easier on his teammates. There is just not a lot to pick at when you look at his game. Very happy that he came back for another season.

  2. How can such a great shooter, scorer be kind of overlooked? Be at UK with all these high profile ,exciting freshmen is how I guess. But it is probably a big help to Antonio not to have
    as much pressure…..he just plays! And how does he play….like the All American he is. And who is the most consistent UK basketball player? Antonio is, and maybe he is the most consistent player in America!
    Who is the biggest recruit on the team……Antonio!
    Everybody should be showing the love with just a few weeks left for Kentucky basketball
    with Antonio the leader of this exciting team.

  3. According to some on here he’s not even the best guard on the team. They say Reeves should be riding the pine to start the games.

    1. I don’t recall anyone ever saying that Reeves should not start. He is one of the 3 most efficient players on this team. Why would he not start along with Tre, Rob and Reed?

      1. Don’t you guys ever think our guard depth is a good thing to have regardless who starts. They all are almost averaging the same amount of minutes. The depth is there across the board something we have lack the last few years. The last 2-3 years during post season we had a starter or 2 hurt , but didn’t have the depth to back them up and that hurt us of having an early exit to end the season. This team may not win the title, but will make a deeper run with the depth we got. I like our chances. GO Cats!!

        1. I agree with Cats79 points about depth. I also feel strongly about who should start and who should get the Lions share of the minutes. I won’t repeat that here.

          Depth is important but it looks like that depth does not include players that can rebound or play defense.

  4. Reed is averaging the 3rd most minutes. Since Wagner came back from injury Cal has stuck with him starting. It is paying off now. He might have lost the kid mentality if he benched him from starting. Sheppard is doing fine. You will see how fine when he’s making Millions next year.

    1. Jimmy, I’m hoping Reed will stick around for another year. Wagner has come around to him self since he had that injury. I feel like the team as whole is peaking at the right time, just need buckle down on defense little more. Go Cats

      1. Cats79, I agree with you when it comes to the Cats. I know you’re Big Blue all the way. I hope you know I am. I hope Sheppard stays too. However if he is projected as a top 5 draft pick at the end of the year, that would be hard to pass up.

        1. On this Friday eve before the match up against the Vols. My gut has me that the cats will win this game for no,2 seed for the SEC tournament. Take that negative Sayers been right before when beat Auburn. Oh by the way tomorrow I will repeat myself on this site that the cats will win .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

All articles loaded
No more articles to load