The Trenton Tornadoes had one of its more memorable seasons in program history. The teams 2018 campaign was cut short after a 51-40 defeat to Shawnee. That loss hardly overshadows what the Tornadoes did accomplish. The team won its first sectional title since 2014, and the Trenton community rallied behind the Tornadoes in incredible fashion.
A key aspect behind the Tornadoes success was the addition of Reggie James. The Perkiomen transfer made his impact felt in each and every one of his appearances. In only 13 games James finished second in made free throws (42), fourth in rebounds (84), third in assists (56), and second in blocks (16).
Adding a major contributor midway through an already successful season is a difficult move to navigate around. James and the Tornadoes made the 6-foot-3 junior’s transition seamless.
“Reggie’s impact was huge for us,” head coach Darryl Young explained. “He gave an already confident group of kids even more of a boost in their confidence.”
Young also explained that James is the type of player every coach dreams of having. “Reggie’s unselfish play made him a great teammate,” Young said. “It quickly earned him trust and respect from his teammates and coaches.”
Furthermore Young believes James’ impact this season went beyond the basketball court. James is a Trenton native, and his coach views him as an inspiration the community.
“Reggie coming back home shows our youth that you can become successful right where you were born and raise,” Young stated.
Below is a 1-on-1 interview with the Trenton native. James discusses playing for his home town, how the city of Trenton rallied behind this team, his recruiting process, his dunking ability, and more.
Sam Goldberg: Trenton Central’s state tournament run was remarkable for a variety of different reasons. What was it like from your standpoint?
Reggie James: It was a good feeling. We listened to the coaches… We played defense… It took us a long way.
SG: Throughout the season you and your teammates have been saying that this Tornadoes team was built for the state tournament… What made this team so equipped for a deep run?
RJ: The pace we play at. Nobody practices like us. We practice at a fast pace every single day. When teams face us they are not used to the pace we play at, so we get them off their game.
SG: What’s unique about the way your team practices?
RJ: We go hard. We pressure full court every day, it’s something we live on… It makes your opponent uncomfortable.
SG: The station covers a ton of different teams with the video stream coverage we provide. I’ve never seen a crowd like the Trenton crowd. What’s it like playing in front of them?
RJ: There is no feeling like it man. Having an entire city behind your back, it’s a different feeling, not a lot of people get to experience that.
SG: Why do you think this city rallies behind Trenton Central athletics the way they do?
RJ: They want to see some young men winning.
SG: How different are the fans at Trenton compared to the fans at Perkiomen?
RJ: I’ve never experienced anything like the passion from the Trenton fans at my old school… the Trenton fans are right there behind us.
SG: Aside from the community, your student section is incredibly passionate as well. What were things like in school during the state tournament run?
RJ: We were getting a lot of love… But we just stayed focused on winning.
SG: Hindsight is always 20/20 but considering how everything transpired I imagine your pleased with your decision to come back and play for your hometown high school?
RJ: I am defiantly happy I came back.
SG: What made your transition with your new teammates so effortless on the court?
RJ: I grew up with these guys since I was about five. We’ve been playing basketball our entire lives together. When I came it was like nothing new… I just knew what to do.
SG: I imagine that your teammates were happy to hear you were coming home to play basketball?
RJ: They were pretty ecstatic. At the end of the day they just wanted to win.
SG: I reached out to coach Young about this interview and he was highly complimentary about you both on and off the court. What’s it like playing for him?
RJ: He’s a great coach. He always tries to put us in the best place. One thing about him is that it’s not all about basketball, he tries to teach life lessons as well.
SG: What type of life lessons?
RJ: There’s no excuses in life. You’re going to do something don’t make excuses… Always make sure things get done… He’s a great person to be around.
SG: Looking back on this season… the 17-point comeback against Hunterdon Central has to be a specific area you’ll remember?
RJ: It all started there. That’s when we grew up into men. We all felt it wasn’t our time to go home.
SG: You had one of the best dunks of the year in that game. It has to feel great to have those huge slams game after game?
RJ: Of course. The crowd gets hype and goes crazy… It gets me hyped and fuels me.
SG: What’s your college recruiting process been like so far?
RJ: It has not been great so far. I have a NJIT offer and that’s been it… I’m looking to have a big summer… It’s going to be a big summer.
SG: What can you do to ensure it’s a big summer?
RJ: I’ll be in the gym every day. I am going to put up at least 500 shots a day.
SG: How long does that take?
RJ: Depends how you do it. Anywhere from an hour to maybe two and a half hours.
SG: What’s something off the court people may not know about you?
RJ: I’m very nice… People see me on the court and might thing I’m not approachable… But I’m very nice.