Updated August 23, 2021 - 8:56 pm
Wes Reed, a former UNLV basketball player who went on to become a coach, mentor and fixture in the high school community, died Sunday from complications of COVID-19. He was 48.
Reed grew up in Las Vegas and attended Chaparral High School, earning all-league and all-state honors. He played two years at Barstow College in California, where he set 3-point records before walking on at UNLV for the 1994-95 season.
We are saddened to learn of the passing of former Runnin' Rebel Wes Reed. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/HDttyyFLSi
— UNLV Men's Basketball (@TheRunninRebels) August 23, 2021
He eventually earned a scholarship and playing time, establishing a reputation as a selfless wing who would do all the little things such as take charges and dive for loose balls.
In two seasons at UNLV, Reed played 37 games — averaging 8.6 minutes from 1994 to 1996. His career continued via the local high school and grassroots basketball scene, in which he was heavily involved until his death.
Reed co-founded the Henderson Heat club basketball program in 2009 and was instrumental in the development of its girls teams — the Lady Heat — helping connect dozens of players to college opportunities.
“Wes was kind of the epitome of basketball,” said former UNLV guard Demetrius Hunter, a Cheyenne High alumnus and youth basketball coach who considered Reed a mentor. “He’s everything a coach should be, on and off the floor. He went above and beyond.”
Reed contracted COVID-19 last month and checked into Southern Hills Hospital and Medical Center on July 25. He spent the past several weeks in the intensive care unit.
He’s survived by his son, Miles, and remembered by so many more in Las Vegas and beyond.
“He devoted a lot of his life to helping other people’s kids,” said former UNLV wing Lamar Bigby, who runs the Las Vegas Knicks and counted Reed among his closest friends. “This is a huge loss for our community. I just hope as a community that we can come together and embody some of the things he did to help the youth.”