Rich Hofmann: For Villanova's Reynolds, North Carolina's Lawson, game is a friendly feud

Villanova's Scottie Reynolds (left) and North Carolina's Ty Lawson, meet with media yesterday.
Villanova's Scottie Reynolds (left) and North Carolina's Ty Lawson, meet with media yesterday.
Posted: April 03, 2009

DETROIT - Scottie Reynolds played for Boo Williams, Ty Lawson for the D.C. Blue Devils. (People who hate AAU basketball should stop reading now.) These were some ridiculous teams: Reynolds, Vernon Macklin and Marcus Ginyard on one side, with Lawson and Kevin Durant on the other. The game was played in North Augusta, S.C. It was July 2004.

"I think it was at the Peach Jam [tournament], me and Ty, the first time we really played against each other," Reynolds was saying, as he and Lawson prepared to battle again, this time in the national semifinals. "The other [matchup] was Kevin Durant against Vernon Macklin, who's now at Florida. It was back and forth. We ended up winning."

An account of the game exists, courtesy of

Reynolds, one of the best shooters in his class, lived up to his reputation. The 6-foot-1 rising junior guard lit it up from deep and had little trouble of getting to the basket off the dribble any time he wanted. Just when you think he's going to score every time he touches the ball, he'll run the point efficiently. Reynolds had 23 points in the win . . . The final score was Boo Williams 87, D.C. Blue Devils 70. And in the story, Reynolds' first name was spelled "Scotty."

Durant's teammate Tywon Lawson had perhaps his toughest game of the tournament despite scoring 14 points. The 6-foot rising junior has been one of, if not the best, point guard at the event but he struggled to find his shot and Boo Williams' defense was too smothering to get anything done.

Fast-forward to now; fastforward, perfect. Five years later, after the NCAA Tournament's East Regional final, after everything, Reynolds was saying the other day, "My head is still spinning. I just want to put on a different body right now. I don't want to be me."

That was before he arrived at the Final Four. There were five or six reporters talking to him then in the Villanova practice facility. They were reviewing the frenetic, physical shot in the lane that Reynolds hit last Saturday night to win the Pittsburgh game and deliver the Wildcats to the Final Four. It was all a bit much, he said.

Well, five or six reporters are now more than 50 times that big. Ford Field is a basketball cavern, better suited to bad football than a college basketball tournament. For Villanova, a national semifinal awaits tomorrow night against North Carolina.

Reynolds, who carried the Wildcats home last Saturday, had a choice when he watched the NCAA South Regional final the next day: Oklahoma, where he originally committed as a high school senior (before coach Kelvin Sampson left), or North Carolina, where he would face Lawson, an old high school rival and the Tar Heels' resident jetpack.

He said he still had good feelings for some of the people at Oklahoma, "But, mediawise, I didn't want them," Reynolds said. "It would be way too much, talking about the shot and then about Oklahoma."

So, Lawson - and mutual admiration.

"[Reynolds] is real cool, a real laid-back kind of guy," Lawson said yesterday. "He's just a lot of fun."

Reynolds played in northern Virginia, Lawson in Maryland, their lives orbiting around the high-level basketball center of Washington. Now, both similarly and differently, they are the igniters on teams set to collide at the Final Four.

"He's definitely one of the top guards in the country," Reynolds said. "We've played against each other a number of times. We're cool. I know him, and we've played against each other, and we know what we're going to get out of each other. We're from the same area. We played against each other in AAU, in high school. I was his roommate at the LeBron James camp a year or 2 ago. We're just cool. We want each other to succeed."

Any stories?

"No stories," Reynolds said. "We're just cool."

Their roles could be different tomorrow. Even though they are both lightning, Carolina is the team that will want to play faster. The Tar Heels will want to take the ball out of the basket and fly. In some ways, Reynolds' most important job might be to beat Lawson back on defense. He can slash and he can score - but if he continually gets caught, he will be playing right into Carolina's hands. They all will.

All of that will come, though, after the pregame noise. And, as Scottie Reynolds said, "The best time for me and this team is after the media gets away and we step on the court and just compete again." *

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