WALLA WALLA — Dallas Reich has been known for his work on the defensive end of the basketball court, both at Weston-McEwen High School where he was a four-year starter and now in his second season at Walla Walla Community College.
But Warriors coach Jeff Reinland wouldn’t mind seeing a little more offensive firepower from his 6-foot-3 wing. Especially so after the loss of 6-foot point guard Eric Harr, WWCC’s leading returning scorer from a year ago.
Harr, who is from Twin Falls, Idaho, suffered a torn labrum one week ago in practice leading up to last weekend’s crossover tournament in Bellevue, and Reinland doesn’t expect to see him back on the court this season.
“He was just reaching back for the basketball and he felt something snap,” Reinland said. “He had the same injury in high school, and it was the same pain he felt before. By the next morning he could hardly move his arm, so we sent him home to see his doctor.”
Harr has yet to have an MRI to determine the extent of the injury, Reinland said. But the coach is not hopeful.
“The doctor thinks it is torn and that he will be out for four or five months,” Reinland said. “If that’s the case we won’t get him back this year.”
And since Harr has appeared in only five games this season, he’s eligible to redshirt this season.
“We can get his year back if we don’t play him again,” Reinland said. “We wouldn’t want to bring him back for the last few games of the season and ruin his sophomore season.”
Harr led the Warriors with a 12.8 scoring average through five games. He was hitting 35 percent of his 3-point attempts (16-for-46) and was averaging 4.4 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.
As a freshman he averaged 11.5 points per game.
“There’s no question he was our best player returning,” Reinland said of Harr. “Not only that, he was our point guard, and that’s like losing your quarterback. He was a pretty important guy.”
Seth Alden, a sophomore out of Wa-Hi, has moved into the Warriors’ starting lineup and will play the point. But Alden has had health issues of his own, having missed most of the preseason as he recovered from a concussion.
“He got released to play right around Thanksgiving,” Reinland said of Alden. “Up until then he hadn’t been able to do anything for about a month-and-a-half. He was even having a hard time getting through classes.”
The Warriors won two of their three games over the weekend in Bellevue to even their season record at 4-4. Reich scored 54 points in the three games and was WWCC’s leading scorer in two of them.
Reich averaged 5.8 points per game as a freshman and is averaging 12.1 points through eight games his sophomore year. He’s also shooting 46 percent from the field and has made 42 percent (21-for-50) of his 3-point shots.
“I have been on him for two years to look for more scoring opportunities,” Reinland said. “And for whatever reason, he really turned it on last weekend.”
Scoring is not exactly an epiphany for Reich. He was Weston-McEwen’s leading scorer during his sophomore and senior seasons, and he ranks third on the TigerScots’ career scoring list.
And yet when you listen to Reinland, or to Reich’s high school coach, Brian Pickard, Reich’s greatest strength as a basketball player is on defense.
“We relied on him most on the defensive end,” Pickard said of Reich. “He always guarded the other team’s best player, and he liked that challenge.
“That said, he can handle whatever is put in front of him. Nothing bothers Dallas. He is one of the hardest workers I have ever coached, and I have nothing but praise for the kid.”
“There’s no question Dallas is our best defender,” Reinland concurred. “He always has the responsibility to guard the other team’s best player. He’s good sized, quick, athletic and strong, and he is one of those guys who has the stamina that a lot of people don’t have.
“He can play 40 minutes in a game and come to practice the next day fresh as a daisy. I am really impressed with the way Dallas has developed as a player.”
And even though the Warriors have plenty of other scoring options, further development on the offensive end is the new agenda for the former TigerScots star.
“Last year, and a little bit this year, he passed up opportunities when he could be scoring,” Reinland said. “He is such a team-oriented player, and I know he never goes home at night thinking about how many points he scored.
“But we do need him to be a little more assertive. He could take more shots than he does.”
While Harr’s basketball future is somewhat in limbo, Reinland would love to have him back next season even though he is a 4-point student who will probably earn his Associate of Arts degree in the spring.
“I have had conversations with his dad, and one with Eric, about coming back next year,” Reinland said. “And while I don’t want to put words in Eric’s mouth, I think it would be a smart move if he wants to play at the next level.
“As good a player as he is, coaches are going to be a little guarded as far as recruiting him because they are not going to get to see him play for a full season. The injury is a red flag for coaches interested in recruiting him.”