Remarkable Rebound

From cancer to Hawaii, Reed on national stage for Chaminade

Brett Reed making a name for himself at Chaminade in Hawaii. Vype

Originally appeared on Vype.com.

Crazy college basketball fans set their DVRs for the “One Shining Moment” segment minutes after the NCAA Tournament Final. 

You know what I’m talking about. The ups and downs, the great shots, the dunks, the celebrations and tears.

Brett Reed lived his “One Shining Moment” earlier this week in Hawaii, where he attends college at Chaminade University of Honolulu.

The Silverswords host the Maui Invitational, a famous college NCAA holiday tournament on ESPN — where Notre Dame, Cal, VCU, Michigan, LSU and Wichita State do battle. And the Silverswords got the chance to mix it up with the more well-known programs.

The 6-foot-8 College Park grad was right in the mix, locking down Player of the Year candidate Bonzie Colson of the Fighting Irish in front of a national television audience on ESPN.

“I came off the court and had tons of texts and Snapchats,” he laughs. “I was shocked to see how many people were watching. I’ve never been on national television before.”

“I hit a buzzer-beater and played great defense on one of the nation’s top players,” he said. “It was great playing against the best in the nation and I was really proud of how I did.”

Chaminade ended up beating Cal in their final game of the tournament and caught some national attention.

“This has been the greatest week of my basketball life,” he laughs. “We are hanging at the finest resorts and living the life out here. The tournament treated us like kings.”

So how does a kid from Houston’s north side end up in Hawaii? His amazing story begins in the Texas Children’s Cancer Ward.

Reed was a 6-foot-2 post in the College Park Cav program, hanging with buddies and playing pick up games at Legends Sports Complex, 24-Hour Fitness and Villa. During the summer before his junior season he hit the summer church camp circuit with some friends.

“I was at a church camp and just felt this lump behind my ear,” he said. “I thought I got bit by a spider or something. I got home and hit the courts, but it wouldn’t go away. I went to the doctor and just wanted some antibiotics. I was ready to get out of there. It still didn’t help."

“My mom just had this bad feeling like moms do, and brought me to our family friend, who was a doctor. He said something was not right. I checked into our local hospital for two weeks. Then they took a biopsy and they sent me to Texas Children's.”

There he received the news that he had Non-Hodkin's lymphoma in his neck and head.

“My mom was crying and I honestly didn’t know if I was going to live,” he said. “My family flew in and the College Park coaches came up to the hospital. Everyone was acting like I was going to die and I was freaking out."

“They told me I had a 60-percent chance of beating it, and at that moment I knew I was gonna be good. I know myself and knew I would beat it. It was a long 10 months with the chemotherapy and the affects.”

He did beat it and got back on the varsity court late in his junior year as the Cavs made a run deep into the regional tournament.

“I’ll never forget beating The Woodlands on a buzzer-beater and then in a double-OT in the second game,” he recalls. “Those were the best wins I’ve ever been a part of.”

Reed had a solid senior season, but was still looking for the right fit in college. He was asked to walk-on a few spots, but really wanted to go the junior college route and get re-recruited.

He had a couple of opportunities to walk-on at a few Division I schools, but decided to head West and enrolled at Cabrillo Community College under the direction of coach Tony Marcopulos.

“I really wanted to play immediately and it was the best decision I made,” he said. “I wanted to get out of the state of Texas and see something new. The coaches saw some video of me at an event, and emailed me. Before I knew it, I winded up in California. It was great because I literally played every position."

“I still talk with coach Marcopulos every week,” he said. “When I went there, he told me he would take care of me. After my parents, he’s my greatest mentor.”

Reed was a two-time California Community College Athletic Association first-teamer, a first-ever for Cabrillo. He signed with the University of San Francisco, but Marcopulos didn’t send in the paperwork because he felt a change coming. The day after, there was indeed a coaching change.

His second choice? He would soon call Chaminade University in Honolulu home and began receiving playing time earlier this month.

“I was a late add to their class and the coach was thinking about redshirting me to get some more development,” he said. “I was playing well and I told him, ‘let’s go.’ I was ready to play.”

With his size, competitive nature and versatility, Reed now sees his future beyond college.

“I also came here because they sent six guys to the professional ranks in Europe,” he said. “I know the NBA is a long shot, but trying to play overseas is becoming an option. My ultimate goal is the get paid for something I love to do.”

It’s a long way from that hospital room at Texas Children’s Hospital in downtown Houston. Now he plays the sport he loves in Hawaii with a bright future ahead of him.

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DeMeco Ryans feels like the perfect fit. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images.

There’s one big difference between the Houston Texans and the Canadian Mounties.

The Mounties always get their man. The Texans not so much. That’s how second and third (and desperation) choices like David Culley, who never even was a coordinator in his nearly 30-year NFL career, and Lovie Smith, whose top credential for the job was being in the building, got to be Texans head coaches the past two years. Both of whom were one and done – summarily fired after disheartening, aimless seasons.

But that all changes with the imminent hiring of 38-year-old DeMeco Ryans as Texans head coach. An announcement could come any moment.

With one bold stroke, the Texans will be cleaning up a mess that took years to fester. Ryans is the perfect candidate for the job. He was drafted out of Alabama by the Texans in 2006 and became Defensive Rookie of the Year and All-Pro linebacker. He played six years in Houston when, lest we forget, the Texans developed into a winning team bound for the playoffs.

After retiring in 2017, Ryans became a successful coach with the San Francisco 49ers, rising quickly from defensive quality control to inside linebackers coach to defensive coordinator the past two seasons. This year, the 49ers had the stingiest defense in the league with the fewest points and yards allowed. They allowed their opponents to score on less than 25 percent of their drives – far and away the best performance in the NFL.

The Texans want Ryans and Ryans, who was the hottest head coach candidate on several teams’ wish list, wants the Texans. He’s reportedly said no thanks to the Denver Broncos, a team which appears to have a faster track to rebuilding than the Texans. Contrary to Thomas Wolfe’s classic novel, Ryans believes that you can go home again.

Ryans will accomplish some immediate fixes for the Texans – like bringing respectability to the franchise and soothing wounds with the fan base. The team desperately needs a kick in its image. As recently as five years ago, the Texans were selling out every home game at NRG Stadium with tens of thousands of home-viewing fans wishin’ and hopin’ to buy season tickets.

Then came Bill O’Brien, criminally one-sided trades (in the wrong direction), a divisive and unpopular executive with the owner’s ear, the Deshaun Watson scandal, two head coaches plucked off the scrap heap, and losing … lots and lots of losing. The Texans finished their recent season with three wins and the undisputed crown of most dysfunctional franchise in the NFL.

The jewel of that damning crown was winning a game they needed to lose to guarantee the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft. You’d think that losing would be the easiest thing for the Texans. It’s sort of become their thing.

Not only did they win, they did it the hard way, by going for two in the last minute of their last game and winning by a single point. By winning they forfeited their unobstructed and worry-free path to drafting the quarterback of their choosing. Who thinks to do that? Now they have to wait to see what the Chicago Bears will do with the No. 1 pick.

Ryans will require time, probably a few years at least, to restore the Texans to the ranks of playoff contenders. In blunt terms, the Texans currently stink. They won three games in 2022 after back-to-back four-win seasons. On defense, they were 27th in points allowed. They were 31st in rushing yards allowed. On offense, 31st in yards per game, 31st in rushing, and 31st in third down conversions. There’s only 32 teams in the NFL.

Of course you can cherry pick stats to make a team look good or bad. With the Texans, they’re all bad.

Their returning starting quarterback won’t be starting next season. That’s the plan, anyway. The Texans are expected to draft quarterbacks Bryce Young of Alabama, C.J. Stroud of Ohio State or Will Levis of Kentucky with their No. 2 pick. The Texans may sign a free agent veteran signal caller or trade for one.

And start from scratch. Again. At least this time with a coach that brings hope back to Houston.

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