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January 26, 2014

Reyes big and better than ever at LHS

Swept away from Lawrence program by AAU coach's advice, giants Reyes back to work for Lancers

The rim-rattling two-hander shook the foundation at Lawrence High School Tuesday night.

At 6-9, 260 pounds and just about a month after his 17th birthday, Franziel Reyes had announced his presence with authority around the Merrimack Valley Conference – dunking, swatting and rebounding his way for Lawrence over Haverhill.

“The dunk was my first, and that’s nice, but I just want to help the team win,” said Reyes. “I’m just happy that I’m working on my game and I’m getting better.”

For those of you who have caught glimpses of Reyes in his brief Lancer past, you wouldn’t recognize him or his game.

Sure, he’s the biggest kid on the floor in most gyms. But it’s a sleeker, more aggressive, more athletic Reyes, down 40 pounds from his previous high of 300, that draws the attention now.

“That kid improves every time we watch him play,” said Rick Nault, whose club escaped Lawrence with a tough, 59-51, win on Friday night. “If he keeps going like this, nobody will want to play him.

“Maybe somebody else can try and get him out of here and send him somewhere away.”

Far away, would be best, nodded a joking Nault.

But Reyes is no joke.

In fact, he returned to the Lancer fold with a drive that few in this area have seen. After the fall he had, Reyes had enough.

“I won’t call it a mistake, just more of a learning experience, for whatever it was, it just didn’t work out,” said Reyes.

Over the summer, his VBC AAU basketball coach brokered a deal that sent Reyes to Pace Academy – a public charter school in Carrboro, N.C. Clearly, Reyes’ size played a huge role in the athlete moving south.

Things didn’t work out.

“The schedule was extremely hard. And I wasn’t even the tallest kid on the team. We had two 7-footers,” said Reyes. “I didn’t realize how difficult it would be leaving. Being away from home, I missed my mom, my dad, I missed everyone.”

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