Reggie Bullock, left, shares a light moment with high school friends, Dory Hines, Dajonte Wise and Curtis “Nootsie” Hines at Bullock’s NBA draft party at the Woodmen Community Center Thursday night.
Janet S. Carter / The Free Press
Published: Friday, June 28, 2013 at 00:05 AM.
Reggie Bullock is NBA bound.
Bullock, who decided to forego the bright lights and the limelight of television to be a part of a small gathering at the Woodmen Community Center in Kinston, was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers with the 25th overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft on Thursday.
Bullock’s selection made him Kinston’s sixth native to be taken in the draft, joining Cedric Maxwell (1977), Mitchell Wiggins (1983), Charles Shackleford (1988), Jerry Stackhouse (1995) and Herbert Hill (2007).
The announcement — Bullock watched on a pull-down screen in a side room at the Woodmen Community Center — came with an eruption of cheers and salutations for the biggest athlete basketball-wise to come through Kinston in quite some time.
“I just had to be patient and wait for my time; my time came at the right time,” an elated Bullock said. “I’m real comfortable with this position that I’m in, going to the Clippers. So, I’m just grateful — me, my family and friends.
“I’m just glad that everybody came out to support (me).”
Being drafted, no matter in what slot and to what team, has been Bullock’s goal all along.
“This is what I dreamed of, Day 1, since I played basketball at Holloway, growing up on Bright Street. This is what I’ve dreamed of,” the 22-year-old said. “My chance is here. One of the easiest parts is getting here. One of the hardest parts is staying. So I’m just going to go in there from Day 1 and work, and hopefully I’m just going to try and help the organization out as best as possible.”
Retired Rochelle Middle School basketball coach Alexander “Skeet” Davis helped mentor Bullock out at Holloway Recreation Center.
As he watched Bullock enter the Woodmen Community Center on Thursday, he was taken back to the days when Bullock would do anything to be on a basketball court.
“I’m blessed to see this day,” Davis said. “I didn’t do anything special. I just did what Mr. Davis wanted to do, and that’s work with the kids. I’m so proud for him, so glad for him.
“Reggie had that drive, that work ethic, he had the manners. He’s just one of a kind.”
Former Kinston High School principal Wynn Whittington had the privilege of watching Bullock grow into a talented young man.
Whittington knew Bullock had a special talent and was a special student at a young age.
“It’s special for all of us; it’s special for Kinston — not just the community but Kinston High School,” he said. “It’s another player who’s come through the ranks and had a tremendous impact on the school and the community and is a role model for younger folks. We’re just real proud of him and what his accomplishments are.”
Bullock’s draft day was something Whittington came to expect.
“Absolutely,” he said, when asked if he felt Bullock would someday play in the NBA. “Reggie’s work ethic and personality and the way he was raised — to work hard and to prioritize things — and he made school and basketball a priority, and he’s reaping the dividends today.”
For Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy, Thursday’s achievement is something the community should be accustomed to.
“It’s always good to celebrate successes in the community, especially when it’s one of your native sons achieving a tremendous amount of success. And the good thing is, Kinston should be used to it,” Murphy said. “This is really a standard of who we are, and that’s why we’re so proud of Reggie. He’s continuing to meet that standard.”
Ryan Herman can be reached at 252-559-1073 orRyan.Herman@Kinston.com.