Scottie Reynolds liked his accommodations in Italy. He liked Prima Veroli, his team in the country's second division. He liked a lot of things about where he was. But he didn't need much time to realize his heart just wasn't in it.
That is why the former Villanova star guard packed his bags and headed for home Oct. 26. Whether the NBA might have a lockout next season suddenly seemed immaterial. He wanted, one more time, to see whether he could play his way into the league.
Reynolds turned up as the No. 13 overall pick in the NBA Developmental League, taken by the Tulsa 66ers yesterday, then promptly traded for a first-round draft choice to the Springfield (Mass.) Armor. The Armor is linked to three NBA teams: New York, New Jersey and the 76ers.
The No. 2 scorer in Wildcats history can only hope this is finally his ticket to get to where he wants to go. The D-League season starts Nov. 8; its annual "Showcase," in which scouts evaluate talent, is Jan. 10-13.
"A lot of people questioned my decision, but they questioned my decision to go to Italy, too," Reynolds said yesterday in a telephone interview. "My team understands why. My heart wasn't all into it."
He knows he left a lot of money on the table in his 1-year contract with Prima Veroli, but that clearly didn't stop him. He averaged 12.3 points, 2.5 assists and 2.3 steals in four games.
"There have been a lot of rumors and speculation about why I did this," he said. "When you get down to it, I feel as if I've sacrificed things all my life to get to a certain point. This time, I didn't want to not have a shot this year. I wanted to do it now. What I've always wanted is a chance to play at the next level."
Lee Melchionni, one of his agents, said: "Scottie wanted to pursue an opportunity in the NBA. He thought this would give him his best chance."
In June, Reynolds became the first Associated Press first-team All-America to go undrafted since the NBA incorporated four teams from the old ABA in 1976. He played with Phoenix in the Las Vegas summer league and drew an invitation to the Suns' training camp, but with no guarantee he would make the team.
"I'm young. I want to grow as a player," he said.
And, no, he didn't leave Italy because he was homesick.
"To hear people suggest that is silly, because that would be the decision of an immature person,"he said. "That's not me. And it's not like I'm going to be home now, living in my house. I actually liked living in Italy. I could have stayed, but I just felt this was something I had to pursue. I've already talked to [Armor coach Dee Brown]. I'm eager to get to work."
Other local selections
La Salle graduate Vernon Goodridge also was selected in the first round of the NBA's Developmental League draft, taken fifth overall by Springfield. He averaged 6.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in 21 minutes per game during the 2008-09 season, his only year with the Explorers. The 6-9 forward spent time in the Golden State Warriors' preseason camp this year.
Three former Saint Joseph's players were drafted. Tasheed Carr was picked by the Erie BayHawks with the 15th pick in the third round; Garrett Williamson was picked by the Austin Toros with the third pick of the fourth round; and John Bryant was the fifth pick in the sixth round by the Bakersfield Jam. Another former Hawk, Darrin Govens, was not drafted, but was invited to the training camp of the Reno Bighorns.
Another player with a Philly connection, North Carolina State's Brandon Costner, son of former Hawks standout Tony Costner, was picked eighth overall by the Utah Flash. *