BEST-KEPT  SECRET  AND  THE  NUMBER  12

MANILA, APRIL 25, 2006 (STAR) SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson - Dangling at the end of a long silver chain, around his neck, are the metal-crafted words "Best-Kept" and the number 12.

Streetball phenom Kareem Reid earned the right to wear the necklace because he’s widely known by his hoops sobriquet "Best-Kept Secret" and his jersey number is 12. The 5-11, 220-pound guard has never played in the National Basketball Association (NBA) but, as Dime Magazine once put it, he’s run just about everywhere there is to run—which is why he’s the "Best-Kept Secret" in the game.

Here’s what Dime said about Reid:

"Since his University of Arkansas career came to a close in 1999, the Bronx native has suited up for teams in the NBDL, USBL, CBA, IBL, ABA, the Harlem Globetrotters and pro squads in Lithuania and Turkey.

"If there’s any place in the world that he calls home though, it’s 155th Street in Harlem. Since his high school days as a McDonald’s All-American at St. Raymond’s in the Bronx, the ‘Best-Kept Secret’ has been a regular ripping it up in the EBC (Entertainers Basketball Classic).

"For three years in a row, Reid has been a crucial member of Fat Joe’s Terror Squad and their back-to-back-to-back EBC Championships run, balling alongside cats like Stephon ‘The Handler’ and Zech ‘Little Bro’ Marbury, Andre ‘The Point’ Barrett, Kenny ‘K-Satt’ Satterfield, Omar Cook and Ron Artest."

Reid, 31, finished his four-year Arkansas career as the varsity’s all-time assist leader, eclipsing former pro Lee Mayberry’s mark. He wound up averaging 11.3 points in 131 total games, 117 of which he started, and scored in double digits in 74 outings. As a senior in 1998-99, Reid knocked down 36-of-112 treys for a .321 clip and posted single-game career highs of 26 points against Memphis, 14 assists against North Texas and eight rebounds against Florida.

Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson described Reid as "the all-purpose player we depend on for everything." Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook editor Chris Dortch said Reid is "a cunning defender who excels in Richardson’s system which features pressure, pressure and more pressure (and) a crafty player (whose) seemingly hell-bent drives to the basket thoroughly confuse opponents because he’s so adept at taking the ball back out to wide-open teammates on the perimeter."

Reid is a flashy speedster who specializes in no-look passing, sleight-of-hand tricks and razzle-dazzle play. In the Harlem outdoor playground courts where the nets are made of metal chains not nylon cords, the "Best-Kept Secret’ is the lord of the rings. He operates like he has eyes at the back of his head and the ball is a part of his hand. When Reid is on the floor, things happen because he creates.

So why this report on Reid?

It’s to forewarn national coach Chot Reyes to be wary of the master passer who’ll quarterback the ‘Bad Boys’ squad against the Philippine team at the Araneta Coliseum on May 1.

Reid is one of three "undersized" players in playing coach Sidney Moncrief’s team. The others who stand less than six feet tall are 5-9 Calvin Murphy and 5-11 Myron Allen. Jimmy Alapag won’t feel out of place in their company.

The tallest player in the visitors’ lineup is 6-11 Darryl Dawkins.

Rounding up the 12-man roster are 6-7 Dennis Rodman, 6-7 Alex English, 6-4 Otis Birdsong, 6-6 Olu Famutini, 6-10 Jason Klotz, 6-8 Colin Boddicker and 6-6 Chad Wilkerson.

Tour organizer Mario Whitmire is betting his bottom dollar the "Bad Boys" will go home undefeated and when the smoke of battle clears, Reid won’t be the "Best-Kept Secret" anymore.

"You can be sure everyone will be talking about Kareem after the games," said Whitmire.

The "Bad Boys" play the San Miguel Beer All-Stars in Mandaue on Thursday, too.

The San Miguel Beer All-Stars are Allan Caidic, Pido Jarencio, Ato Agustin, Bobby Jose, Cris Bolado, Joey Santamaria, Peter Martin, Tony Boy Espinosa, Ronald Magtulis, Ed Cordero, Bobby Jose, Vince Hizon and Ed Cordero.

The Philippine team is composed of Alapag, Mike Cortez, Willie Miller, Ren-Ren Ritualo, Dondon Hontiveros, Tony de la Cruz, Asi Taulava, Don Allado, Nic Belasco, Romel Adducul, Rafi Reavis and Kelly Williams.

Postscript: Emerald Headway, the leading distributor of nearly 1,000 books and foreign magazines including Scientific American, Elle D’cor, Home, Woman’s Day, Women’s Health and Bead Style, invites you to join its Warehouse Raid Promo from April 3 to May 2. Get as much as a 20 percent discount for every one-year subscription and as much as a 10 percent discount for each six-month subscription. Moreover, if you subscribe within the promo period, on June 22-23, you’ll have the opportunity to gather as many back issue magazines as you can in 10 seconds. For more details, call the Subscription Department at 647-4744.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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