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
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.
"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
"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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