Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Big Country Stakes out His Terrain in East Regional

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Big Country Stakes out His Terrain in East Regional

Article excerpt

There is an area under the basket that Bryant "Big Country" Reeves has staked out as his territory and, at 7-feet, 292 pounds, he gets very little argument about the issue.

So on Sunday, late in the NCAA East regional championship game, with Massachusetts in deep trouble, largely because of Reeves, here came UMass guard Derek Kellogg, driving to the hoop, right into Big Country's country.

Kellogg is 8 inches shorter and 100 pounds lighter than Reeves and the collision was rather impressive. The big man went down in a heap and the call was charging.

Complimented on taking one for the team, Reeves' face creased into a mischievous smile. "The staff told us there could be a chance to step over and take an offensive foul," he said. "He kind of ran over me. I did a little acting. It was good enough."

What is it like, Kellogg was asked, running into most of the state of Oklahoma? "I saw a big white thing coming at me," he remembered.

That describes Reeves well. He sets up housekeeping under the basket and does not deal warmly with guests. Against UMass, he used his bulk for 24 points and 10 rebounds and did the major damage in Oklahoma State's 68-54 victory that took the Cowboys to the Final Four.

Reeves is the trump card for Oklahoma State. He is not terribly graceful but he is awfully big. He is a load underneath and he changes shots just by being there.

It was not always that way. Reeves came to Oklahoma State from tiny Gans, Okla., population 300. He was big but he wasn't a terribly polished player. He was what basketball coaches call a project.

He credits coach Eddie Sutton with honing his skills. "Coach is responsible for me," Reeves said. "He told me to listen to him and he'd make me a better player. This is my senior year and after everything I've been through, I have a chance to go to the Final Four and win it all."

In the NCAA Tournament, Reeves has faced three of the nation's top centers - Antonio McDyess of Alabama, Tim Duncan of Wake Forest and, for a while on Sunday, Marcus Camby of UMass. …

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