AKRON — He’s been on the big stage before.
Last year, Reggie McAdams’ senior basketball season at Elida was capped off with a trip to the Division II state tournament where the Bulldogs lost a thriller to perennial-power Dayton Dunbar in the championship game, 54-52.
McAdams led all scorers with 24 points.
In football, McAdams was the quarterback and led his team to the Division III state semifinals his senior season, where Elida was ousted by Springfield Shawnee.
Now, a freshman on the University of Akron basketball team, McAdams finds himself on the big stage once more. This time, it’s the NCAA Tournament.
Akron (26-6) received the No. 12 seed in the South Region and will take on No. 5 seed Virginia Commonwealth (26-8) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at 9:45 p.m. Thursday at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Akron won the Mid-American Conference this season with a 14-2 record. The Zips also won the MAC Tournament, which stamped their ticket for the NCAA Tournament.
“I was talking to my roommate about this,” McAdams said. “Your first goal, growing up, is to win a state title in high school. We didn’t win it, but we came pretty close. Then, you always have the goal of playing in the NCAA Tournament. It’s a dream come true.”
As a freshman at Akron, McAdams found himself in an unfamiliar role. Instead of being the go-to player, like he was throughout his high school career, McAdams had to settle into the role of coming off the bench.
“It was difficult at first,” McAdams said. “At the beginning of the season, Coach (Keith Dambrot) was playing like 11 guys in the rotation. By midway through the season, I settled into my role, which was coming in and playing good defense, getting rebounds and then hitting the open shot when I got it.”
In high school, McAdams led the Bulldogs in many statistical categories.
He left Elida as the all-time boys leader in points (1,721), blocked shots, most games played and starts. McAdams was named the Division II Co-Player of the Year following his senior season.
This season at Akron, McAdams is averaging 4.7 points, 1.3 rebounds and 12.1 minutes per game. He has seen action in 31 of Akron’s 32 games with one start.
His best performance of the season was against Northern Illinois when he scored 20 points, on 6-for-6 shooting from the field, to help lead Akron to a 68-53 victory.
However, the one constant with McAdams is his ability to contribute in many different ways. In high school, he would handle the ball out front, post-up or shoot from the perimeter. He was a threat at virtually any spot on the court. It hasn’t changed much at the college level, either.
“I normally play the (No.) 2 or 3 (position),” the 6-foot-7 McAdams said. “With us losing our point guard, I’ve practiced a little bit at the 1, too.”
No matter where he plays on the court, McAdams will gladly accept his role.
“I can’t wait. We want to go out there and leave no regrets on the floor. They’re not much different than us. We think we can play with them (VCU),” McAdams said.