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Hearn believes NBA will call again

January 10, 2019

Reggie Hearn never thought he’d be here : a player with NBA experience, a staple of the national team and USA basketball’s Male Athlete of the Year.

But it’s happened.

“There were many times I wanted to quit and many times I was on my knees in prayer wondering if basketball was still for me because I’m just a kid from Fort Wayne, Indiana,” Hearn said Monday, after he played for the Stockton Kings in a 122-108 loss to the Mad Ants at Memorial Coliseum.

“I went to Snider and walked on at Northwestern and never would have thought that all of these accomplishments would have come my way. I’m very thankful, looking back, and obviously hopeful to extend my career. I’m 27 and still young, so I’ve just got to keep grinding.”

Hearn likes to talk about one of his favorite biblical verses : Ephesians 3:20, which states: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

Hearn explains that it’s “that idea of how much God can do, far beyond what we can think or imagine,” and that it helps explain how he’s accomplished so much in his career, including playing three games last season for the Detroit Pistons, playing just six minutes and scoring just three points.

“I think (in the NBA) I’ve just seen how God has come to the table every day and how they put the work in and how they take care of their bodies, and that’s something in the G League that at first I didn’t really understand,” said Hearn, a 6-foot-5 guard who thrives on 3-point shooting and defense, and who believes he will return to the NBA.

“A lot of those guys up there are playing 60, 70, 80 games a year, so if I want to be able to get to that level, I’ve got to be able to take care of my body. And just to learn from some of the minds up there, I couldn’t even stand here and tell you some of the things I learned up there, but I picked up a lot about how offenses are run and things of that nature. It was a very valuable experience.”

Hearn has helped the national team to a 5-1 record in qualification games for the FIBA World Cup.

“When I was a kid, I never really thought I’d be able to wear the red, white and blue,” Hearn said, adding it boggles his mind that players turned down the opportunity to play for the national team before he got called.

“Since then, pretty much every time I get the chance, I take the opportunity. To get the chance to do it and to have some rewards come back from that, it’s so awesome. I just want to say I support the veterans and my way of serving my country feels a lot safer.”

As for being named in November as USA Basketball’s Male Athlete of the Year, an award that’s been won by stars such as Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Reggie Miller and Tim Duncan, Hearn said: “To find out all the history behind it and all the great players who have won the award, it’s truly amazing that I would even be put in that class.”

Hearn has played 205 regular-season G League games, averaging 10.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.1 assists with 39.5 percent shooting from 3-point range.

This season, he’s averaging 9.5 points and 4.4 rebounds in 18 games with Stockton, down from the 14.8 points and 5.2 rebounds he averaged in 12 games with Grand Rapids last season.

“It’s been statistically one of my toughest years,” he said, adding he’ll keep grinding away.

jcohn@jg.net

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