Having stepped away from playing for the past two years to focus on other aspects of OnPoint Hoops Academy and teaching, El Reno native Jonathan Reed could not wait to get back on the court for the 2015-16 season.
It proved to be a wise choice.
Reed earned Most Valuable Player honors over the weekend as the Oklahoma Outlaws, based out of OnPoint, swept three games in Atlanta to win the 2016 Universal Basketball Association Championship.
“It’s a milestone for OnPoint Hoops and what we are trying to bring here (El Reno) and this is a stepping stone. I’m very proud of our guys for sticking with it because we had to get rid of some players earlier in the year but the ones here all came together,” said Reed.
Reed is extremely proud of the hardware brought home from Georgia considering it’s the first season for the Outlaws to play in the UBA after jumping up a rank from the United Basketball League (UBL).
“OnPoint has played eight years but this is our first year in the UBA. The Universal Basketball Association gets a lot of international exposure and they place a lot of players overseas.
“That was the motivation to play in this league, to get our guys on a bigger platform,” said Reed.
What makes the UBA championship even more impressive is the fact the Outlaws became the first team outside of the UBA’s Southern Conference to win the overall title in seven seasons.
“This is something that has never been done before. The Southern Conference had won all the titles before,” said Reed.
The Outlaws did it on a shoestring budget, which was contrary to the other teams in the UBA postseason hunt.
“We were the only team there without a title sponsor. We drove down there in cars and stayed at Motel 6. All the other teams flew down or rolled up in buses and were staying in downtown hotels.
“But that’s OK, we are bringing home the hardware,” said Reed.
The Outlaws won the Mid-West Conference of the 20-team league with an 8-2 record, which earned them the bottom and final postseason spot. Reed’s team drew top-seeded and defending champion GIE Maile Matrix in the opening round. The Georgia-based team had won four of the six UBA titles.
However, the Outlaws served notice with a 93-80 win over the Southern Division champion.
T.J. Thortin pumped in 18 points and grabbed seven boards in the win, while Devin Harris led the way with 22 points, eight caroms and six assists.
In the semifinals the Outlaws took on Eastern Conference winner Winston-Salem Savage-Truth (22-2) and prevailed in a shootout 102-89 to advance to the title game against the Fort Worth Firm out of the Western Conference. Reed pumped in 11 points in the title game as the Outlaws brought home the trophy with a 69-63 win. Reed closed the game with four assists and three rebounds.
The effort helped cap off the MVP title for Reed, who scored 15 points and grabbed five boards and six assists in the first-round win.
“That was amazing (MVP) because we have a lot of guys that scored a lot more points than I did. I was not our leading scorer on any night but I take whatever role I need for us to win that game.
“That was the way I have always played and it was good to get back into that role,” said Reed.
Mahlon Jones, who was the UBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award winner, was the top scorer for the Outlaws in the title game with 20 points and two steals, while Harris had 13 points, five assists and four boards.
Jones logged 21 points, while Thortin had 18 points in four boards in the Outlaws’ semifinal win. Kennis White had a double-double with 17 points and 11 boards.
In addition to the MVP award, Reed was named to the UBA All-Star Team this season along with Harris and Zech Smith.