Alabama Basketball Newcomer Breakdown: Derrion Reid

Reid enters his freshman season as the second-highest rated recruit in Alabama basketball history.
Derrion Reid on his official visit to Alabama.
Derrion Reid on his official visit to Alabama. / Reid's Instagram page (@35.derrion)

This is the fifth in an 8-part series where BamaCentral's Blake Byler will break down the numbers and the film to give you everything you need to know about each of Alabama basketball's 2024-25 newcomers. 

Brandon Miller. Richard Hendrix. Kira Lewis. John Petty.

That's a list of some of the most talented players to ever come through the Alabama basketball program, but it's also a few members of a long, long list of players that incoming freshman Derrion Reid is ranked higher than coming out of high school.

In fact, the only Alabama player to ever rank higher than Derrion Reid as a high school prospect (according to 247Sports' rankings) is Collin Sexton, who went on to be a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft.

Reid, a 6-foot-8 forward from Grovetown, Georgia, is the crown jewel of Alabama's 2024 recruiting class that ranks No. 2 in the nation. Reid is a 5-star prospect, and ranks as the No. 10 overall player in the class according to 247Sports' composite rankings.

Though he's from Georgia, Reid transferred out to California to play his high school basketball at Prolific Prep, where he was teammates with fellow Alabama freshman Aiden Sherrell. His high school performance both for Prolific and on the EYBL circuit earned him selection as a McDonald's All-American, one of the highest honors for high school basketball players.

Reid possesses a sturdy frame at 220 pounds, and is an incredibly strong finisher around the basket thanks to his strength and touch around the rim. He's an explosive athlete, capable of highlight reel-worthy dunks and blocks.

Though he's most comfortable as an inside finisher, even comfortable working in the post, Reid has worked on expanding his game to play as a big wing, which is where he best projects as a player playing against bigger bodies at higher levels. His 3-point shooting is a work-in-progress, but he shot nearly 40 percent on low volume this pas EYBL season, proving to be a capable shooter if nothing else.

Perhaps most notably, Reid has all of the tools to be an elite defender of mulitple positions. His athleticism and range make him versatile, and he has excellent footwork and active hands to go with his large frame and high motor.

Reid made one more significant accomplishment before his arrival in Tuscaloosa, being selected as a member of the Team USA U18 team in the FIBA AmeriCup this summer. Team USA took home the gold medal in the event, as Reid showcased his high motor and inside scoring capabilities competing with and against some of the best young talent in the world.

In six games playing for Team USA, Reid averaged 10.3 points and 7.7 rebounds, all while never starting a single contest and playing just 16.7 minutes per game.

Looking at some of the film from Reid's performance from Team USA as well as some clips from Prolific Prep, let's take a look at some of the ways Reid can affect the Crimson Tide this season:

Where Reid is most comfortable scoring is on the interior, and his ability to get himself open inside is put on full display in these clips.

In the first clip, Reid seals his man on the low block as his teammate cuts to the top of the key, and after receiving an entry pass, rises up to slam it home over a defender. He's able to use his size and his strength to gain an advantage on the interior, something that was easy for him to do at the high school level.

In the second clip, Reid floats in the paint against a 2-3 zone, finding the gap before receiving an entry pass. From there, it's pure footwork as he's able to maneuver his way to a favorable angle to bank the shot in.

Now, I'd be surprised if Reid was consistently used in the post-up game, considering that's far from what Alabama prefers to do offensively. Regardless, his finishing skills are up there with the best in the class, and if he finds himself with a size mismatch, he can easily use it to his advantage.

Reid's finishing skills also translate to his ability to penetrate with the ball in his hands, as shown in the two above clips.

You can see Reid's strength on full display in the first clip, after a hesitation gets him even with his defender, he absorbs the contact with ease and is able to finish through it, despite the difficult angle he's presented with.

In the second clip, Reid takes a rebound coast to coast, and with the aid of some nifty dribble moves to get him by the first defender, he finishes an and-one through a blocking foul.

Granted, these clips are against high school-level competition, so it remains to be seen whether Reid will be able to beat college-level defenders off the dribble in this way. Even if his handle needs some work to be able to get by defenders in the SEC, expect him to still be able to utilize his strength to finish through contact, whether it comes off a drive or off a cut as a slashing wing.

While playing for Team USA, Reid's knack for rebounding, especially on the offensive end, became apparent. He had one double-double in his six games, while having multiple other games with at least eight rebounds.

He showed a level of tenacity on the offensive glass that led to multiple putback buckets, as seen in the two clips above. In the first clip, he gets good positiong for the offensie rebound by boxing out his man, and goes straight back up for the finish after out-jumping his opponent for the rebound.

The second clip shows more of his touch around the rim, as he executes a difficult tip-in after once again out-jumping the opposition.

With Reid's blue-collar hustle and affinity for rebounding on both ends of the floor, he has an easy way to stand out and earn playing time on a loaded Alabama roster.

Perhaps the area where Reid will be able to affect the game the most is on the defensive end, and while the above clips don't show him going 1-on-1 and locking someone down in isolation, they show the impact he's able to have as an off-ball defender.

Reid plays perfect off-ball defense in both clips, aligning himself exactly where he needs to be on the help side, and shows his active hands, able to poke the ball out and get runout layups in both scenarios.

Versatility is the name of the game when it comes to Reid's defense. He's strong enough to be able to go at it with bigger bodies inside, while long enough to give guards trouble with his wingspan and great footwork on the perimeter.

Combining Reid's defensive capabilities with his rebounding and inside scoring, he should immediately push for playing time despite the sheer amount of talent on the Alabama roster. It's still unclear whether he'll command a starting role, but knowing how Oats feels about giving playing time to good defenders, it wouldn't be a shock to see him crack the starting lineup, even as a freshman,

The biggest thing to watch for with Reid is the development of his outside shot. If he started consistently knocking down open jumpers, he's going to be one of the best players on the team, and one of the best freshmen in the country. He's currently projected to be a first round pick in the 2025 NBA Draft according to ESPN's latest mock, and he'd be pushing lottery status if he improves on his 3-point jumper.

Oh, and I haven't gotten to touch on Reid's explosiveness enough. Just take a look at this clip and you'll see what he's capable of:

Check out BamaCentral's previous newcomer breakdowns:


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Blake Byler

BLAKE BYLER

Blake Byler is a staff writer for BamaCentral and primarily covers Alabama basketball and football. He has covered a wide variety of Crimson Tide sports since 2021, and began writing full-time for BamaCentral in 2023. You can find him on Twitter/X @blakebyler45.