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Reddick suiting up for hometown X-Men

Antigonish native Dondre Reddick, shown in pre-season action versus the UNB Reds, is a freshman guard with the St. F.X. X-Men basketball team. Paul Hurford
Antigonish native Dondre Reddick, shown in pre-season action versus the UNB Reds, is a freshman guard with the St. F.X. X-Men basketball team. Paul Hurford - Corey LeBlanc
ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

Home court has an even deeper meaning for Dondre Reddick.    

The Antigonish native, a freshman with the St. F.X. X-Men basketball program, took many of his first dribbles on what is now called Coach ‘K’ Court.    

“I am so happy to be playing here – it is an honour,” the first-year arts student said.    

The 6’3” guard, who played the past couple seasons with Toronto-based GTA Prep, was pursued by several universities – both north and south of the [Canadian] border.    

“If I was going to stay in Canada, this is where I wanted to play,” Reddick said.    

He remembered coming to an X-Men game just before Christmas last season, which included a post-game conversation with veteran St. F.X. head coach Steve Konchalski.    

“When I talked to him later, I expressed my interest in coming here,” he noted.    

The rest, as they say, is history, with Reddick now donning the White and Blue.    

“We are thrilled to have a player of his calibre,” Konchalski said.    

He noted Reddick’s time playing against high-level prep-school competition “really elevated his game.”    

“We are so excited about having the opportunity to work with Dondre,” Konchalski added. 

‘Great upside’    

Since returning to Antigonish, Reddick has been busy – not only finishing his high school studies and graduating from Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School, but also rehabbing a  quadriceps injury.    

“It showed a tremendous level of commitment,” Konchalski said, in praising his student-athlete.    

That dedication has carried over to his early weeks with the X-Men.    

Konchalski said Reddick has progressed to the next level in the “really, really early going” of his varsity career, noting his 28-point performance against the UNB Reds, Oct. 18, in pre -season action.    

“He is shooting at a high clip – both from the field and the line,” Konchalski said of the pre-season performance, while noting Reddick had – to that point – taken the second-most foul shots on the team.    

Noting he has always possessed “great athleticism,” the X-Men head coach said Reddick has “diversified his game.”    

“It has really improved,” Konchalski said of his shooting, particularly his “ability to elevate over his defender.”    

He described Reddick’s three-point shooting as a “work in progress,” but noted he “hasn’t shot many.”    

“Dondre is also a great finisher at the hoop,” Konchalski said.              

On the other side of the ball, he said Reddick has “strong defensive instincts.”    

“Right now, he is probably our best on-the-ball defender,” Konchalski noted.      

He added that part of the freshman’s game has “great upside.”    

When asked about the strengths of his game, Reddick quickly said “defense.”    

He added he also has the “ability to create my own shot.”    

“I can also take it strong to the basket and finish,” Reddick noted.    

Because of his recovery from the quadriceps injury, Konchalski said Reddick is “just getting up to speed on our system.”    

“It has been a great start to what could be a terrific career,” he added. 

‘Awesome’ experience    

Since those early days, whether it was playing minor basketball for the Antigonish Lions or the Halifax-based Community ‘Y’ Panthers, Reddick has always loved the “flow of the game.”  

“I fell in love right away,” he said of the sport.    

As for that return to the court on the St. F.X. campus – that 28-point pre-season effort versus UNB – Reddick said “it felt great.”    

He added it was “awesome” to be able to play in front of so many friends and family.    

“It is going to be great,” Reddick said, when asked about having that same opportunity throughout his X-Men career.    

In donning the White and Blue, the student-athlete will be continuing a family tradition. His uncle and aunt, Trevor Reddick (soccer) and Theresa MacCuish (basketball) – are St. F.X. Sports Hall of Fame members, while another aunt, Syna Reddick, also played basketball for the X-Women.

Championship aspirations    

Reddick described his experience with the X-Men, thus far, as “exciting.”    

“We have a young team who is growing together and developing chemistry,” he said.    

Reddick is also thrilled to be able to play for Konchalski.    

“He has been a legend for me, since I was a kid, so it is an honour to be playing for him,” he said.    

Reddick added it has also been great to work with associate coach Tyrell Vernon, who he loved watching when he was an X-Men player.    

As for the goals for his first varsity season, he looked at it through a team-first lens; winning AUS and U Sports championships.    

“Coach ‘K’ deserves to have another one of each,” Reddick said.    

The X-Men open the regular season Saturday (Nov. 2), when they travel to Halifax to face defending AUS champion Dalhousie Tigers.    

The home opener for St. F.X. is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 8, when they host the UPEI Panthers.    

Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.

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