On a late Sunday night in Argentina, around 14,000 basketball fans were all packed into the Orfeo Superdomo to witness the gold medal game of the FIBA Americup. While most fans in the US overlooked the tournament, there was a completely feeling in that arena. That was due to Argentina being on the verge of making two accomplishments that they haven’t done since the 2004 Summer Olympics; win a gold medal in FIBA competition and beat Team USA. Because with only 8:13 remaining in the 3rd quarter, Argentina maintained a huge 48-28 lead over the United States.
Apparent from that score, things definitely looked worrisome for the United States as the team’s offense was absolutely stagnant due to the opposition’s hard-nosed defense. Coinciding with that, Argentina’s offense was working like a well-oiled machine as they were maintaining solid ball movement which allowed Hawks prospect Nicolas Brussino to get some open perimeter looks.
Fortunately for the United States, that bad luck quickly changed right after coach Jeff Van Gundy called a timeout once Argentina took that massive lead. Oncethe teams got back on the court, the United States started to slowly come back due to the help of a variety of G League alums from Reggie and C.J. Williams to Jameel Warney. Their input helped trim Argentina’s lead from 20 to only 6 points once that 3rd quarter ended.
Despite that comeback, their work wasn’t done as they obviously still had one quarter left to go. Those aforementioned players definitely helped in the 4th, however there was one player that really stepped up to the plate for team USA. That contributor was former Reno Bighorns guard Reggie Hearn, who just took control of the game for very brief period of time.
Over the course of a small three-minute period, that lasted from 8:24 left in the 4th to 5:40 left, he lit an additional spark in the USA’s fire as he nailed two perimeter shots while forcing a steal that led to a transition layup from Kendall Marshall. Although that may not seem like much over the grand scheme of a 40-minute FIBA game, it was enough to give team USA enough momentum to pull out a tough 81-76 victory over Argentina. While Jameel Warney rightfully stole the headlines as team USA’s leading scorer and FIBA Americup MVP, Reggie Hearn stands as a player that also deserves some attention.
A good reasoning behind that is due to how he performed during the FIBA Americup. In 21.1 minutes per game, Hearn put up 10 points and 3.6 rebounds per game on 46% from the field and 47% from beyond the arc on 4.2 perimeter attempts per game. That kind of efficiency allowed him to maintain a tremendous 64% True Shooting Percentage. While that kind of efficiency would be shocking when it comes to most players, it’s actually been commonplace for Hearn during his recent years in the G League.
Over the past two seasons, Hearn has stood as arguably the best perimeter shooter in the NBA G League. As a member of the Reno Bighorns, Hearn has put up 12.5 points on 45% from the field and 44% from beyond the arc on 6.5 perimeter attempts per game. That kind of incredible perimeter efficiency actually stands as a surprise when you consider his past performance. Before the 2015-16 season, Hearn only shot better than 37% from beyond the arc once during his prior years in the G League and at college with Northwestern.
Although that incredible efficiency would usually capture the attention of some NBA teams, Hearn hasn’t even received a training camp invite. For NBA teams, that oversight could be pointed to his low scoring volume or suspect defense. However, that mindset will hopefully change this fall as he’s been to able to display incredible perimeter efficiency whether he’s in the G League or in FIBA competition.
As teams across the Association look to fill out their final roster spots, it would be a surprise if he continues to be overlooked. Obviously, Hearn’s incredible shooting could really intrigue some NBA squads that are looking for a perimeter weapon. Although the best type of deal that he’ll get is a two-way contract, it would still be a great accomplishment for a player that’s been grinding for the past few years.