Backyard basketball in Decatur, Ga.
One-on-one. Two brothers.
The older: Jeremy Price.
He would go on to start as a 6-foot-8, 264-pound forward for the University of Georgia.
The younger: Jarmal Reid.
Now a freshman starter for Oregon State.
There was no quarter.
“It was some rough times, because we were so competitive," Reid said. “So he really taught me a lot and helped me become the player and person I am today."
Although Price was five years older than Reid, he did not go easy.
Reid learned, sometimes the hard way, that if he did not answer aggressive play in kind, he would not survive the sport.
The seeds of a strong defender were planted.
“He was bigger. He was always bigger and he was faster, stronger," Reid said. “The challenge was to try to stop him. That just carried on to whoever I played against. My goal was to stop them and do whatever it takes."
Reid stepped into a starting spot for the Beavers when Angus Brandt was lost for the season with a knee injury.
Coach Craig Robinson realized he needed a player who had versatility as a defender.
“His integrity on defense is better than anybody else’s," Robinson said. “You know the effort, the technique, the willingness to play defense all the time is there with him."
At 6-7 and 225 pounds, Reid has the perfect size to match up with any player.
He has enough quickness to stay with guards and size to take on big men.
“He’s definitely a tweener," OSU guard Roberto Nelson said. “He can guard anybody and he’s strong enough where he can guard the big guys and he’s quick enough where he can guard the guards. He’s really versatile and he’s going to make a lot of noise in the Pac-12."
Reid is in the game to blanket the opposing team’s top scoring threats.
Robinson does not hesitate to look to Reid to slow Washington guard C.J. Wilcox (19 points per game) one game and Washington State’s 6-10 center Brock Motum (18.9 ppg) the next. Tonight when the Beavers (11-9 overall, 1-6 Pac-12) face the California Golden Bears (11-8, 3-4) at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Reid is likely to be tested by Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs. The junior guard duo is the highest-scoring pair in the Pac-12 Conference with a combined average of 34.7 points per game.
“When we’re playing in the conference, we have to look to try and shut down the other team’s best scorer or one of their best scorers," Robinson said. “And he gives us a good opportunity to do that."