2022-23 Season

‘He’s a unicorn’: Tarris Reed Jr. starting to realize his potential

When Po Ping grew up in rural China, everybody counted him out. He was too slow, too out of shape, too aloof to ever turn into someone special. People put him down, dismissing him before he could ever reach his potential.

And yet, Po rose to become one of the greatest martial artists ever — in DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda, that is. But fantasy film or not, that story hits close to home for Tarris Reed Jr.

“(Po) was the one that was chosen to be the Dragon Warrior, so that’s like the route I’m taking now day by day, pace by pace,” said Reed, who uses a picture of Po as his Instagram profile picture. “At first, people didn’t expect him to be even chosen for the Furious Five (but) now he ended up being the Dragon Warrior, the best character of all time. So that’s what I’m about to take to be the best college basketball player that ever came through Michigan.”

Those goals are lofty considering the numbers hanging off the rafters at Crisler Center, but they highlight the ambition with which Reed has developed in his freshman season. As a freshman big carving out a role, he’s developed into one of the better defenders on the Wolverines’ roster.

At the start, Reed occasionally subbed in when Hunter Dickinson needed a breather. Now, he’s one of the Wolverines’ defensive stalwarts, someone they can lean on for valuable minutes when games hang in the balance.

“I’ve been in his ear a ton because he’s just full of potential,” Joey Baker said. “And I don’t even think he understands how good he can be. I think he’s starting to get a taste of it. But defensively he’s a unicorn — the way he can move his feet and block shots at his size.”

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‘He’s a unicorn’: Tarris Reed Jr. starting to realize his potential
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