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Reed pulls his weight for Haverford

SEMA'J REED has already identified most of the Christmas gifts that will be coming his way. One he's still hoping to receive, though he remains unsure where things stand, is a Moncler coat.

SEMA'J REED has already identified most of the Christmas gifts that will be coming his way.

One he's still hoping to receive, though he remains unsure where things stand, is a Moncler coat.

Let's say he gets it. Maybe the color will help to provide a hint?

Though Reed, a 6-7, 265-pound junior center, is currently focused on making basketball contributions for Haverford School, his sport in college will be football and he'll be popping pads for a Division I program.

"I already know which one," he said. "I don't want it out there yet, though. I want to hold off until January because I want somebody special to be there for the announcement."

Smiling all the while, Reed declined almost all requests to drop a hint.

Finally, he did acknowledge that his future home won't be close to Philly.

Rather fitting. Reed is a native of Newburgh, N.Y., about 60 miles north of New York City, and he returns there again and again to interact with family members and old friends. He found his way to Haverford thanks to assistant coach Charles Monroe, who was told by a friend about a talented kid with size and an impressive academic profile.

"When I heard about Haverford's all-boys aspect, I wasn't too sure I wanted to do it," Reed said. "I was thinking, 'This'll be like going into the military.' But once you get here, you become ignorant to it. It's not as bad as you perceived it to be."

Reed was talking Sunday after the visiting Fords tamed Bishop McDevitt, 66-54, in a spirited nonleague game. Aside from notching 22 points, he powered his way to 12 rebounds.

One of his early highlights was a successful trey. One of his late ones was a vicious dunk . . . Not really. Though he was open by 15-20 feet, Reed merely canned a regular layup after catching a teammate's pass.

"Yeah, I can dunk," he insisted. "Check out my finger," he added, holding out his right hand. "I jammed it and I couldn't palm the ball."

Because he's thick and bottom-heavy, Reed looks like someone who always played basketball and was convinced at some point that it might be worth his while to try football.


"Actually, if I hadn't got hurt playing football way back," he said, "I probably never would have played basketball.

"Know what I was when I was little? A quarterback. I was pretty good. Google my name with the Newburgh Eagles and you'll see some stats."

Reed said he played football, even through knee surgery, until age 12, then switched to basketball after a growth spurt. He was convinced to take another crack at the gridiron as a freshman at Haverford, but stepped away for a year after suffering an Achilles' tendon injury in the final JV game, vs. archrival Episcopal Academy, of the 2009 season.

He was back at it as a junior.

"In college," he said, "I'll be an offensive tackle or defensive end. Either one would be fine. Whichever one gets me on the field faster."

The personable Reed has become quite the leader for hoops coach Henry "Doug" Fairfax. Hey, someone had to do it on a very young team and Reed is the only senior with extensive experience.

"I'm a vocal leader, and I do it by action, too," he said. "I try to make sure this is a fun experience for us. I'm never selfish. I make sure everybody's involved. We have a lot of team chemistry this year. Plus, we have talent and character. That's huge."

Eric Anderson, a 6-6 junior, nailed three treys en route to 16 points. Sophomore point guard Levan "Shawn" Alston, mixed 13 points with 10 rebounds and three assists. Classmate Sean Lloyd, the nephew of Overbrook all-timer Lewis "Black Magic" Lloyd (1977, seven NBA seasons), had 12 points and five assists. Chris Morgan, also a football star, came off the bench to hustle/bustle for four rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

(As a transfer with previous varsity experience, Lloyd, formerly of Franklin Learning Center, will be ineligible for Inter-Ac League play.)

"We'll be OK," Reed said. "[Starter] James Tarte does a lot for us. Brendan Burke will step up . . . "

Tyrell Long led McDevitt with 18 points and seven boards while Kenyatta Long (no relation) had eight points, seven assists and three steals. Carl Garner (11 points) drained three treys.

T. Long's dunk off a baseline drive enabled the Lancers to storm within 40-38 with 1:11 showing in the third quarter, but HS answered with Lloyd's three-pointer, Reed's follow, Anderson's trey and another Reed follow over the next 2 minutes.

When not scrambling back to Newburgh, Reed lives near 64th Street and City Avenue, in Overbrook Farms, with his mother and other relatives. He plans to major in political science ("I'm big on society") and minor in business ("That can open up so many avenues").

Oh, and his weight will go back up.

"I was 280 when football ended," he said. "Now I'm down to 265. It's all this running that coach makes us do."