Local hoops legend rises above setbacks

Colonel “Buck” Reinhardt

Local hoops legend rises above setbacks
December 01
03:45 2016



Colonel “Buck” Reinhardt grew up in the “pond area” of Winston-Salem.  He was an all-around athlete who played football, basketball, baseball and track and field.

Basketball, however, is where Reinhardt found his niche.

He would later go on to average over 20 points and 20 rebounds per game in 1973. Reinhardt let a setback his junior year derail his career, but not his dreams, however.

He credits the Lord for his comebacks. Reinhardt got into playing basketball after his father hung a hoop on a tree beside his house for his older cousin to shoot on when he visited from out of town.  He says once he learned about Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game and Winston-Salem State University’s (WSSU’s) own Earl “The Pearl” Monroe’s 67-point game against Fayetteville State, his whole outlook on the game changed.

“At home, I would practice shooting all day, every day,” said Reinhardt.  “The guys in the neighborhood would start to come over to shoot and play at my house. I would eventually learn the game and learn it well.”

Once in junior high school Reinhardt quickly made a name for himself and was the starting center on the Northwest Junior High School team.  In the ninth grade at Hanes Junior High School, the team was loaded with great talent, such as Larry Haney, Larry Rucker, and Michael Epps. Reinhardt was cut during tryouts. It devastated him.

“For the first time I felt bitterness and I had a feeling of, ‘I’ll show him,’” Reinhardt said.  “I knew I was good enough to make the team.  I was determined to someday put up numbers like Wilt Chamberlain, Spencer Haywood, and ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich.”

Instead of letting the fact he was cut defeat him, Reinhardt instead took to perfecting his craft, doing hundreds of drills per day to get better.  He says after some time, he “started to realize I had a talent and a gift from God.”  He says he could jump higher than most and was quicker and stronger than the boys from his neighborhood.

His father would soon become severely ill and his family moved to the Mt. Tabor district.  He said he could not wait to play Hanes.  That summer he visited family in Boston and saw the fast style of play the ball players there had and that would later become a big part of his game.

In 1973, Reinhardt says he was in the best shape of his life and made the junior varsity team.  At 6-foot-1 inch tall, Reinhardt was named the starting center.  He says his coach Tommy Reed let him play “his game.” Reinhardt got better each and every game and after reaching the 20-point mark in a game, he scored 20 or more every game after that.

Unfortunately for Reinhardt, scoring inaccuracies by school score keepers did not accurately account for all of his proper statistics every game.

Following a game against Kennedy High School in which he scored 22 points and 28 rebounds he was only credited for 18 points and 22 rebounds.  Nonetheless he would still go on to average more than 20 points and rebounds even with the inaccurate statistics.

He soon became somewhat of a household name with the gaudy numbers he was putting up.  He says his season ended bittersweet because he was never recognized by the school for his outstanding achievement not only on the hardwood but on the track and field team as well.

Reinhardt then entered R.J. Reynolds High School in the fall of 1974 after a meeting he had with head basketball coach Rich Habegger.  He says he left the meeting feeling uneasy but felt his talent would shine through.  He tried out for the team and felt he did well during tryouts but he did not make the team.  He says a friend informed him that the coach felt his “streetball” style of play was un-coachable.

“I remember staring at the list of names hoping I overlooked it,” said Reinhardt.  “Instantly, I felt light headed. I could see people’s lips moving but I couldn’t hear them. I couldn’t even walk away.  I felt I had let my mother down, let my family down and let everybody down who was rooting for me.”

The day Reinhardt was cut from Reynolds tryouts was the end of his high school career.  He says he was afraid to tryout for the team again because he would not be able to handle not making the team for a second time. After that traumatizing let down, his idol changed from Julius “Dr. J” Erving to Superfly.  He then began to sell and use drugs along with womanizing.  He also dropped out of high school two months before graduation.

With his life spiraling out of control, a meeting with his grandmother and a chance encounter with an old friend changed his outlook.  He soon began playing basketball again and received his G.E.D In three months. Reinhardt would later join the U.S. Army and later own his own trucking company.  He says everything changed for him once he gave his life to the Lord.

He says his dreams growing up was to make it to the NBA to own a nice house in the suburbs, have a nice house for his family, have nice cars and a family.  He was able to achieve all of those goals without the NBA.  He says he lives by Proverbs 18:16, which reads, “A man’s guilt will make room for him.”

“It’s good to know you have a God-given talent or gift, but its better to know the giver of the gift because he keeps on giving.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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