LSU men’s basketball freshman forward Jalen Reed may be new to the Baton Rouge campus, but he is no stranger to basketball in the Southeastern Conference.
Reed and his fellow basketball Tigers will open the 2022-23 season on Wednesday, November 9, at the Maravich Center when LSU plays host to Kansas City at 7 p.m. Season tickets for the 18 home games are on sale at LSUTix.net and single game non-conference tickets will be on sale soon.
The 6-10 Reed, who goes by the nickname “J-Reed,” is part of a foundation of players brought in by new head coach Matt McMahon and his staff. The players have worked hard on the court, learning McMahon’s core values and system of play while off the court establishing a chemistry that gives this team a fresh new look and feel.
“I didn’t know any of the guys prior to this,” says Reed. “We all came in and got along right away. We’ve been getting better this summer, learning off each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We have a chance to be special.”
Reed, who prepped last season at Southern California Academy, knows of the SEC because of his father, Justin Reed, who was the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2001, an All-American and a four-time All-SEC selection for the Ole Miss Rebels.
Aside from just wanting to play for LSU and his relationship with the new staff and teammates, one major thing influenced Reed to take his talents to Baton Rouge: Family. He is from Jackson, Miss., about a 2.5-hour drive north of Baton Rouge. Which means his family can easily see him play in the PMAC.
“I have been away from home since I was 16. Being from Jackson, Mississippi which is so close, my family can come see me whenever. I love that,” says Reed.
For many freshmen playing college basketball is a daunting idea. Making the jump from high school to any college, let alone the SEC, is a monumental task in the minds of most. For Reed, however, the only thing he’s focused on is playing the game he loves most. Everything else will take care of itself.
“I’m just looking forward to playing basketball. I love this sport,” Reed says. “I’ve never played on a stage this big before, I think just having a crowd around me will just get me going even more. I’m just really excited to play.”
Reed said the players feel McMahon believes in them and as a result, the players believe in the staff. It’s a tough love that will ultimately push the players to be their best selves. All are necessary steps in building a team that will be competing against some of the best in the SEC.
“The coaches push us in everything that we do. Whether it’s on the court, in the weight room or in the classroom, they make sure we are doing what we need to do,” Reed says. “They want us behaving as professionals off the court while they are helping us to become professionals on the court.
“We all have great relationships with the coaches,” continues Reed. “We know we need to handle our business. I have nothing but great things to say about the coaching staff.”
Although he is the new kid on the block, Reed has lofty goals for both himself and the LSU basketball program. He understands what it means to wear the purple and gold. He’s up to the challenge of taking the program to the next level.
“I just want to help the team win as much as I can while I’m here,” says Reed. “Personally, I want to make it to the NBA. I want to do a lot of winning and be remembered here. With it being a new coaching staff and team, the expectations feel lower than usual for this team. I think we have all the pieces and talent to shock a lot of people and make a run.”
Reed has never played in front of a crowd as big as the ones he will see in the PMAC. In less than a month, he will be in one of the most historic places in college basketball. But the moment won’t be too big for him, it never has. He wants to be the best, and this is the place to do it.
“I’ve never been in an atmosphere like the PMAC, so I’m excited to see what that’s like. I love playing against good competition and the SEC is the best, so I’m excited to play against the best every night,” Reed says.
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