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Reinking too good to be true?


Mark Woods

He's the baller you'd probably let your sister date and trust with your new car. Sweet with a jumper, sweet-faced elsewhere, there must be something bad about Nate Reinking. Anything.

"That's confidential. Only a few people get to know that," grins the Sharks baby-faced hitman, the smile marks ruffling through that clean-cut visage.

Mr. Dependable. A coach's dream (Chris Finch's words). Reinking, in his third season in Sheffield gives you what you need. No flash. No trouble.

His average of 16.77 points per game is what you expect - being 0.01 over his prior average in the BBL (note the percentage point). And after a slow start, the Ohio-native is one of the principal reasons why the Sharks have not lost any of their bite despite a tighter budget than in past years.

"I've got more confident as the season has progressed," agrees Reinking. "Chris always puts together a good side and I think we have got great chemistry. We all enjoy that."

Three new starters - including one guy (Jeff Monaco) who had never been in the pros - should have made things more difficult. Aside from Peter Scantlebury, Rich Windle and Da Bomb Squad, Sheffield's model of consistency underwent a major service but has come out firing on ample cylinders to make a run.

Yet it's the guy who got away who still lingers on a presence. Number 13, Myers, formerly of Sheffield, now domiciled in London, was Reinking's cohort in crime for two seasons before jumping ship in the summer.

They were tight. Still are. 

"We always call each other," reveals the one who stayed. "He's come up and stayed a couple of times and I always look to to see how he is doing."

There's no resentment at the divorce. "It's not a surprise to me that Terrell moved on. He wanted that big challenge of playing in Europe and he's rising to that. 

"Anytime you can play at a higher level, test yourself and see how you stand at that level, it's always a great opportunity."

In the end though money talks. Towers had it. Sharks didn't. Finch believes though that it is Reinking's continued input which has covered the vacancy, and then some.

"We felt that Nate would fill much of what Terrell had brought to the team, certainly in the scoring column .. but in a different way though. We knew that Nate would do more because he had done more elsewhere.

"It didn't come down to choosing the person. It came down to the circumstances and they dictated that Terrell was not within our financial means."

The move though created a new Sharks attack. Nate and Jeff. Two white-boys running together. Monaco has struggled with injuries while finding the transition from college to pay-me tough at times. 

A change which has had the odd teething trouble.

"Jeff and Terrell are two different players," Reinking points out in defence of his colleague. "I just have to mesh with whoever I'm playing with. If that means playing the one, two,. even the three.  Jeff and Terrell have different strengths in different areas. So you have to react to that."

On the floor, Reinking shows little emotion, especially for an anointed leader. "He's one of these silent assassins," concedes Finch, who is happy to sing the praises.

"He brings a couple of dimensions to our team. His attitude for one. He'll do anything you ask him

"He brings versatility. We can play him at the one and two and score at both positions. And plays off him which is important for our mix. 

"This year, he's added a greater defensive quality. We asked him to step up his defence and his tenacity.

"And he fits in well what we are trying to do on and off the floor. This is probably the best start he's had to a season since he's been in Sheffield."

Informed of the compliments, Reinking just shrugs. "I'm not going to agree or disagree," he responds with the vaguest of grins.

Modesty, false or not, is his thing. The image may be perfect but it matters to him, to be seen in good stead.

"It's important to portray that to the fans. Especially the young kids. If I can set a good example and they can take something from how I take from how I act on and off the court.. that's a good return.

"It's a good thing. We're in the public eye. You'll be an example or role model whether you like it or not. So you might as well make a positive effect."

Shot on. Shot off. For Nice Guy Nate, it's all good.

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