2024 Daily Chronicle Boys Basketball Player of the Year: DeKalb’s Sean Reynolds

Junior guard led Barbs to 25 wins, second regional title in three years

DeKalb's Sean Reynolds, left, hugs DeKalb's head coach Mike Reynolds after securing a regional title win over Auburn High School on Friday Feb. 23, 2024, held at DeKalb High School.

DeKalb’s starting point guard this past season is a potential NCAA Division I baseball prospect, and the center already has high-level D-I offers for football.

But on the basketball court, junior Sean Reynolds put together a stellar season, averaging 15.5 points per game with four assists. He also helped the Barbs win 25 games and their second regional championship in three years.

“I was just trying to be a leader on an inexperienced team, lead them to big things,” Reynolds said. “I feel like we accomplished that since we won another regional after we fell short last year. I just handled the ball more, handled pressure and tried to control the game with my shooting and passing abilities.”

The junior guard was an efficient shooter throughout the season, shooting 53% on field goals and 46% on 3s on less than 11 total shots per game. He earned his way onto the DuPage Valley Conference first team for the third straight year.

For all his accomplishments and leadership, Reynolds has been named the Daily Chronicle Boys Basketball Player of the Year for the second straight season.

Reynolds also was honorable mention on the Illinois Media All-State team and a third-team pick on the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association All-State team.

The Barbs featured a mix of young players who excel at other sports. Junior Jackson Kees is primarily a baseball player and sophomore Davon Grant had a breakout football season that got him multiple D-I offers, including from Illinois.

“They’re great multisport athletes, and it’s good for us,” Reynolds said. “They bring stuff to basketball. They work on their game all summer, usually in the gym. It just helps a lot. They’re big guys on the baseball and football fields, they bring leadership and we all connect together. It just helps team chemistry and helps us win games.”

DeKalb coach Mike Reynolds said that one of Sean Reynolds best qualities is being happy for his teammates’ success. He said that’s a quality lacking among young, top-level players.

Reynolds has it.

The coach, also Sean’s dad, pointed to a game during the season in which team manager Nate Herschel got to play and score a basket.

“He just likes to see other kids succeed,” Mike Reynolds said. “I think one of his favorite moments of the year was when our sophomore manager scored. Sean was as happy for that moment as when he did well. That’s called being a leader to me, when you’re as happy for everybody else’s success as much as you are your own.”

Mike Reynolds said the next evolution in Sean Reynolds’ game will come from being able to slash to the hoop more. The coach said he will settle for 3s too often and can do a lot of damage if he gets inside.

“I think the next step for him, in my opinion, is to figure out how to live at the free-throw line,” Mike Reynolds said. “How do you find ways to maybe double your free-throw attempts per game. That’s probably more apt to playing downhill. He is a three-level scorer, it’s just sometimes he doesn’t show his ability to finish at the rim. For his game to take the next step he needs to be able to finish at the rim and live at the free-throw line next year.”

Not only will it get him to the line more often, Sean Reynolds said driving will let him find his teammates and get them more involved in games.

“Honestly, I can shoot pretty well and people kind of keyed on that,” Sean Reynolds said. “I just want to attack close-outs and get two feet off the paint, scoring or getting open shots for my teammates to take me and them to the next level.”

Sean Reynolds said he doesn’t have any offers yet but has talked to schools including Dartmouth, SUI-Edwardsville and Northwestern State.

He’s still got his senior season to go, and he has very high expectations. Five of the seven players the Barbs played in their main rotation return next season. In addition to Kees and Grant, Justin O’Neal and Marquis Boldin also return. Only O’Neal wasn’t a regular starter.

“We want to bring the DVC title back,” Sean Reynolds said. “We haven’t won it since my freshman year. We have four of our five starters back plus Zeke [O’Neal] off the bench, a couple more guys you didn’t see a lot of this year. I feel like our expectations are to try and make it down to Champaign.”

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