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‘Lil Juice’ has chops

Julius Reese Jr.

‘Lil Juice’ has chops
August 24
04:18 2017

Julius Reese Jr., 13, making a name for himself

Julius Reese Jr. is not your average 13-year-old. Before he is old enough to take a driver’s education course, Reese, a rising eighth-grader at Southeast Middle School, is gaining the attention from college basketball coaches across the country.

While competing in the AAU Division I National Basketball Championship earlier this summer, Reese helped lead his team, the CP3 All-Stars, to the Number One spot in the country for the 13 and under age division. Even when playing against rising sophomores, it’s hard not to admire what this middle schooler can do on the court. According to Phenom Hoop Report, an NCAA compliant scouting service, Reese can be hard for anyone to stop once he gets rolling.

The report released following his performance in the National Championship reads, “His opponents simply could not keep him off the glass or from doing whatever he wanted to do. With kids this young its always risky to project where they will end up, but this kid has all the right tools needed to develop nicely over the next five years. When watching him play, it’s hard to keep in mind that he still has one more year of middle school to go.”

Although he was excited about his accomplishments thus far, Reese has not got complacent. While most kids his age are enjoying their last few days of freedom before school starts relaxing or spending times with friends, on most days you can find Reese in the gym perfecting his craft. He knows college scholarships aren’t just given away; they come with hard work and dedication.

“I’m in the gym day after day. I know I have to keep striving to be great,” Reese said.

He has many accomplishments on the hardwood, such as Southeast Middle School’s record for the points scored in one game (39), Most Valuable Player medal from the Junior Phenom Top 100 Youth Basketball Showcase Tournament, Most Valuable Player Award from US Hoops Evaluation/Scouting and Showcase Tournament.  And don’t forget his skills on the baseball field (team advanced to semi-finals and team won numerous Nationally sponsored tournaments in baseball). But that’s not all. His biggest accomplishments may very well be in the classroom.

Also known as “Lil Juice” or “JR” by his peers and others in the community after his father, 1988 Parade All-American Football standout Julius “Juice” Reese, since the second grade Lil Juice has been a straight A student.  He is also a member of the National Junior Honor Society and in 2016 he received the city’s Human Relation Commission Award.

“It’s tough trying to juggle two things at once because you have homework and maybe an hour later you have practice but you have to get your head focused on the books,” he continued. “You may not want to do it but in the long run it will pay off. That’s my mindset. It’s a task to handle but you just have to be disciplined.”

While critiquing his son during his workout, Reese Sr. said his son’s work ethic and drive to get better is unlike anything he has seen before. Reese Sr., who went on to play football at UNC-Chapel Hill after a standout career at Mount Tabor, said he just wants to put his son in the best position to reach his goal.

“This kid is unbelievable. When I look at the amount of work he puts in, it’s unbelievable. I never worked that hard,” Reese laughed.

He said as someone who has played sports at the Division I level, he tries to make sure Lil Juice always remembers to have fun.

“While pushing him to be great I still let him be a kid and enjoy it. Because once you reach a certain level of sports, the fun is taken out of it. So, I try to capture the basics so he can have fun and keep having fun.”

When asked where she expects her son to be in five or six years, Kimberly Reese said it’s hard to pinpoint because he can choose which pathway he wants. She said, “He has always been that type of kid who wanted to be a leader, not a follower.

“He’s very observant and he looks at how society has put black males in bad situations where they find themselves in prison. He’s always said he wanted to make sure he’s not that black male. I think that’s what makes me so proud.” 

With the eighth grade up next and the NBA in his sights, Reese Jr. said don’t be surprised if you see him on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill or Duke University. But with his family and the city close to his heart, he said Wake Forest or Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is still an option. His mother currently works at WSSU as director of the annual fund and his father spent time there as a football coach.

“My top three are UNC, Duke, and Wake. But I do have to throw Winston-Salem State in there. When you walk on that campus, it’s just something different from all other schools. It’s just something that I really do like about it.”

  

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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