In this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re joined by one of the all-time greats in Virginia Men’s Basketball history: J.R. Reynolds, who played for the Cavaliers from 2003-2007, a span that included two head coaches in Pete Gillen and Dave Leitao, as well as two arenas in U-Hall and John Paul Jones Arena.
Despite all the change during his time there, Reynolds paired up with Sean Singletary to form one of the top backcourts in the country at the time, and arguably the greatest backcourt in Virginia history.
Reynolds helped lead the Cavaliers back to the NCAA Tournament his senior season for the first time since 2000-2001, where he put up 26 points in a losing second-round effort to Tennessee, with the Hoos just missing out on the Sweet Sixteen by a narrow 77-74 margin.
Still, Reynolds goes down as one of the best three-point shooters in Virginia history. Since leaving Virginia, he’s played primarily throughout Europe, including France, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Turkey, and Israel, to name a few. He most recently played in the French Pro B League for Poiters.
Streaking the Lawn: Basketball or otherwise, what are some of the highlights of what you’ve done since UVA, and what are you doing now?
J.R. Reynolds: I would say winning four championships (France-2 Montenegro-2).
STL: During quarantine, how were you able to keep up with any of your training?
JR: It was really tough in the beginning since we weren’t really allowed outside, so I was doing my workouts in the house. After awhile I was doing things outside on the track.
STL: Do you anticipate returning to France this year, and what would that season even look like?
JR: I’m not sure where I’m going to be this season. With all of the uncertainties because of the current pandemic, you never know. I will be ready whenever I get that call from my agent.
STL: If you could have been an athlete in another sport at Virginia, which would you choose, and would you be a starter?
JR: I would have played football. Possibly a quarterback or wide receiver. While on my visit to UVa, Marques Hagans (QB of the football team at the time) was one of the first football players I met. Being the competitor that I am, I challenged him to see who could throw the farthest. We got a football and took turns throwing in the middle of the street. I won’t tell you guys who won lol. I think it would have been fun playing football.
STL: What is your favorite UVA sports memory, either as a fan or a player?
JR: Watching UVA Men’s Basketball win the NCAA tournament. I was in France, so the game came on at 2 or 3 am. I had practice the next day and I came into practice with my UVA gear on. That was a proud moment as a fan and alum.
STL: Which coach or professor had the greatest impact on you while at UVA?
JR: My AAU/high school coach Delmar Irving had and still has the greatest impact in my life. He was someone who developed me into the player I am today. He would never let me settle or get comfortable. I think that’s why my work ethic is the way it is to this day because of him pushing me to be the best person not only on the court but in life.
STL: Do you have any career advice for current students or recent alumni?
JR: Work to be the best at whatever you do in life and make sure you’re happy doing it.
STL: What do you see that current UVA student-athletes have on Grounds that you wish you had? (facilities, resources, coach, etc.)
JR: I wish I had everything they have now. I thought I had it good when we first moved into JPJ. It’s even better now and the arena is still fairly new.
STL: What is your favorite Charlottesville restaurant?
JR: While I was in college it was the White Spot on the corner. Now, since they have many new restaurants, I would say Cava.
STL: Bonus question from our TBT alumnus from last week, Courtney Petersen: Did you enjoy the craziness of Clemons during finals, or were you the type to stay home in your apartment to study?
JR: I would stay home or study at the gym. It was too hard for me to study in Clemons with all the craziness going on.