Maryland coach Mark Turgeon can thank Nikki Reed for her 7-foot-1 son's decision to play basketball for the Terps beginning in 2014.
While Trayvon Reed's mother didn't push him toward College Park when the Powder Springs, Ga., native was choosing between the Terps and Florida, she did end his blossoming career as a wide receiver before it took hold.
Given the number of 7-footers playing in the NFL, it was probably a good thing.
After committing to the Terps on Wednesday, the younger Reed talked about how tough it was for him to stop playing football in the eighth grade. The family was living in football-crazy Mobile, Ala., at the time before moving to the Atlanta area shortly after Reed entered high school.
"When my mother told me I couldn't play football anymore, I didn't want to turn it into a negative," Reed recalled. "I didn't even like basketball. I was playing football and baseball. I just started playing basketball. It was cool. It was kind of different for me."
Reed, rated as high as the sixth-best center in the country despite a fairly unrefined offensive game, joins shooting guards Dion Wiley and Melo Trimble, as well as small forward Jared Nickens. Reed took the last scholarship currently available.
Nikki Reed might also have something to do with her son's height. According to her husband, Daniel Moore, Trayvon Reed's mother is 6-3 and she has a brother who is 6-10.
Trayvon Reed, who measured 6-8 after a five-inch growth spurt between seventh and eighth grade, said Maryland started recruiting him heavily last year, and by this summer, "I had my mind up that I was going to go there."
While Turgeon loves shooters -- the rest of the 2014 class falls into that category -- he also knows the importance of rim protectors. It's interesting to note that Reed is the first big man to commit to the Terps since Alex Len. The Ukraine native came to College Park with limited skills, but was drafted No. 5 overall after two years with Turgeon.
Reed said he followed the progress that Len made from a raw freshman to NBA lottery pick.
"When I saw that, I said, 'That could be me,' " Reed said.
There was some confusion last week, when a reporter tweeted that Reed had committed. Reed said the reporter asked him "if I liked Maryland, and I said, 'Yeah, I do.' But I said it was down to Maryland and Florida."
Reed's visit to the campus Wednesday sealed his decision.
"Me and coach [Turgeon] had a good relationship, and after seeing the campus, I just thought it was a good situation for me," Reed said.
As impressed as he was with Turgeon and the campus, Moore -- who accompanied his stepson on the visit to Maryland -- said what convinced him on the school was a member of the athletic department's academic support staff.
"The thing that won me over was that they have a great woman named Tasha [Criss] who's the team's academic advisor," Moore said. "I believed what she was telling me, that was the highlight for me. When they're done playing basketball, you need to have your degree."
Moore said the family closely monitored the progress Len made last season.
"He came in and was about the same size and weighed 218 pounds, about the same as Trayvon weighs now," Moore said. "I really liked the way he panned out."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun