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Growing as a Leader

03/20/2020, 4:45pm CDT
By Sydney Pierre

Mack Reed's leadership role grows with the DASA Rolling Rams

Mackinley “Mack” Reed is 16 years old and maintains a strong leadership role on his team, the DASA Rolling Rams, who are based out of St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams have been through significant changes over the eight years Reed has been a part of the team.

Reed started playing wheelchair basketball when he was younger and has been a long standing member of the Rams. After trying out numerous wheelchair sports, one of his track teammates convinced him to give wheelchair basketball a try. Outside of basketball, Reed is the place holder for his high school football team, the Kirkwood Pioneers, and stays busy during his junior year of high school with plenty of homework. Reed noted that playing wheelchair basketball helped him with his time management, due to “having to juggle with basketball, school, and just everyday life.” 

After losing their program's top player, Nathan Rainge (he graduated in 2017 and plays for The University of Nebraska-Omaha), Reed and the Rams had some doubts about the team’s ability without Rainge. “He was kind of our main guy, who pretty much carried us, and we didn't know how we were going to do,” said Reed. After proving doubters wrong and going 13-9 this past season, the Rams have gotten over the hump. “We want to win and just prove ourselves to doubters, and anyone who's kind of seen us and thought that we 're gonna plunge...after Nate left,” said Reed, adding that “I feel like we truly were able to be competitors and able to compete against some of the higher level teams [this season].” 

As an older player on the team, Reed has taken on significant leadership roles in the past few years. While he never saw himself in that type of role initially, other people told him they looked up to him as one. His goal throughout the entire season has been to help others around him. “My goal is to just improve as a player and improve the people around me as much as I can,” said Reed.  He prefers to stay away from any negative talk, instead trying to “always keep my head up on things and kind of look for the good in the situation.” His highlight of the season so far has been witnessing the comradery of the team and watching his teammates grow as players, as well as people. 

Inspired by NBA players such as James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Reed also looks up to his friend and longtime Rams teammate, 16 year-old Matthew Simmons. “He's always been there through the hard times with me and...we've been able to develop together and I kind of look up to him for that,” said Reed. 

Reed hopes to play in college in a few years, where he is planning to major in sport management or sports marketing. As for the lessons he’s learned from playing wheelchair basketball so far, Reed explained that he learned to “always stay humble. There's always going to be someone that's better than you. And to learn from that.” 

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