By Rickey Clardy
Former Community Vikings Alex Mitchell and Will Reed excelled on the basketball court and both amassed over 1,000 points in their Viking careers. After Mitchell graduated from Community in 2020 and Reed graduated in 2021, the duo who grew up playing basketball together through their elementary, middle school, and high school careers are back together, this time as assistants for Coach Robbie Davis on the Viking high school squad.
It wasn’t a difficult decision for Mitchell and Reed to become assistant coaches for the Vikings.
“I love the game. As soon as I graduated from high school, I wanted to become a teacher so I could coach,” Reed said. “I never wanted to be away from the game.”
“And also watching my dad (Dan Reed), who’s been a coach all his life and coaches middle school and high school, it makes me want to coach and be as good as him,” Reed added.
“When I graduated, I took a year off and that’s when they went to the state tournament,” Mitchell said. “Seeing those guys go on that run, I really wanted to come back to the game.”
“I didn’t want to coach under anybody else but Robbie,” Mitchell added. “We had a good relationship and I’ve been with him over 10 years being his player and now being his assistant at the school I grew up in and the school that I love.”
Along those lines, knowing Davis and each other and being familiar with Unionville and the Viking program are huge pluses for Mitchell and Reed.
“I graduated here and grew up here all of my life, so we know that this school is our home,” Reed said.
“When I finally got done with two years of college, I could finally be at home and coach these kids and help out,” Reed added.
“When Robbie told me Will was going to come back and help, it was perfect being we’ve grown up together,” Mitchell said. “We’ve been best friends for a long time.”
“They are students of the game and the program means something to them,” Davis said. “They are invested and giving back to something that gave for them is good to see.”
Reed and Mitchell, who also coach junior varsity games, are able to assist Davis with in-game situations.
“We see matchups, what defenses work, and what we should run on offense,” Reed said. “He’ll ask us what we see and what we should do.” “We watch a lot of film. We’re in the film room and all three of us sit down and talk about what we see the other team’s going to do,” Mitchell said. “We just try to make it as easy as possible for Robbie to coach the game.”
While only being a few years removed from their own playing days, the assistants were asked if that was an advantage in dealing with the players on the current team.
“I played with Maki (Fleming),” Reed said. “When he was a freshman, I was a senior. So we’ve still got that relationship.”
“They’re our best friends and they love having us and getting along with us,” Reed added.
“We are close to their age and last year was the last group of guys I actually played with,” Mitchell said. “Through the relationship that we have, it makes it to where Robbie is the head coach, but they can talk to us and tell us what they see. Then we can relay to Robbie.”
“We’re kind of like the middle men between the guys and Robbie,” Mitchell added. “It might be more comfortable to them because we are closer to their age.”
“And a lot of guys saw us play,” Mitchell said. “That big respect factor comes in where Will’s been to the state tournament and they each saw us score 1,000 points. They see that and know that these guys know what they’re talking about. When we say let’s do this, they know that this stuff works.”
Davis commented that Mitchell and Reed, along with fellow Community alumni Tyrese Eady, Andrew Haywood, Haley Mitchell, Breanna Whitaker, and Dan Reed are currently coaching either on the fourth and fifth grade teams or at the middle and high school levels, giving former players a big presence in Unionville.
“I am the only non-alumni coaching at Community in the three main stages of our program,” Davis said. “It is a big help to see everyone giving back for sure.”