Katin Reinhardt explains his decision to head to USC
Some clarity has started to emerge in the aftermath of Katin Reinhardt’s somewhat surprising Memorial Day Weekend transfer away from UNLV.
When news of Reinhardt’s transfer broke, there was considerable discussion of Reinhardt (and/or his father) insisting that he needed to play more minutes at the point in order to better prepare himself for a professional career down the road. When UNLV coach Dave Rice, with a replenished stable of options at lead guard, refused to guarantee a level of certainty in terms of Reinhardt playing on the ball, he decided to leave the program.
Earlier this week, Reinhardt decided on USC, where he originally verballed, as his new destination, and some quotes Reinhardt gave Scout.com about the move raised a few eyebrows.
“[USC coach Andy Enfield] said that he doesn’t want me to be pigeonholed into one thing. I would be a playmaker, and I felt very comfortable with that,” Reinhardt said.
While that posture made some sense, especially since Reinhardt is not really cut out to be a full-time point guard and what we have seen so far of Enfield’s system requires a good one, it immediately seemed like there was a disconnect from the reasons for his rumored departure.
Earlier Friday, CBS Sports’ Doug Gottlieb posted a column in which Reinhardt expounded on his decision and clarified the point guard discussion, with comments that foot fairly well with the initial ones he gave to Scout.com. Here is the key one:
“Everybody thinks I want to be a point guard — that isn’t true,” Reinhardt told Gottlieb Wednesday night. “But coach Rice just said I would play mainly off the ball and I am just not comfortable that way. I averaged three assists a game because I like to pass and can pass and I need to have the ball in order to create, not just stand in the corner or run off screens. I’m not that type of player.”
Reinhardt also told Gottlieb that his father wanted him to stay at UNLV, and that transferring was his choice, which runs opposite to the perception earlier in the week when the transfer was announced.
Like any he-said, he-said situation, there is room for nuance and subtlety between two seemingly disparate positions. It’s entirely possible that this “new” position is a fairly accurate representation of what happened. That Rice simply sees Reinhardt, at least in his system, as a more productive player off the ball and wouldn’t guarantee Reinhardt how much he’d have the ball in his hands to actually create. Reinhardt clearly views himself as more multi-faceted than that, and while he doesn’t want to be the full-time point guard, wanted to be in a system where he could be a true combo and show off more of his overall offensive game.
Of course, it’s also possible Reinhardt is covering for his dad and backing off initial posturing that led to his departure from UNLV in the first place, but that doesn’t make this current posture wrong in terms of what’s best for him and potentially both UNLV and USC.
As I wrote earlier this week, UNLV certainly wasn’t hoping to lose a player with Reinhardt’s potential, especially after investing so much in him during his freshman season. But having a guard who’s not happy with his defined role wouldn’t have been a good thing going forward. A year off to work on his game will help Reinhardt, and early returns imply he should be a compelling fit in what Enfield will be trying to construct in L.A. In the meantime, Rice and Co. can move on with players who want to be Rebels. After a season in which individual talent and agendas may have had too much sway, that should be a welcome development in the desert, as well.