Reid Gastner has found a home with Jimmies men's hoops program
Gastner has scored double-digit points in four of the Jimmies games this season.
JAMESTOWN — After two years at the Minnesota State University Moorhead, Reid Gastner decided to move on and transfer to the University of Jamestown.
“At Moorhead, I didn’t really get a lot of playing time and what the coaches were telling me wasn’t following up with what they were actually doing,” Gastner said. “So, then I had been talking to Jamestown earlier in my high school career because they recruited me.”
Gastner was not completely unfamiliar with the Jimmies, though, as his best friend is shooting guard Marc Kjos, and he was recruited by the Jimmies before committing to the Dragons.
“I would talk to Marc almost every day and he would always tell me to transfer to Jamestown,” Gastner said. “I was always very involved, Marc would tell me everything about Jamestown and then he would always be, every day, ‘Hey you should come to Jamestown. Hey, you should come to Jamestown.’ So it felt like I was part of the team already so that definitely made it a little easier once I got into the portal.”
Through the first eight games of the season, Gastner is averaging 12.4 points per game, six total assists, and seven rebounds per game. Neville said he was fully expecting Gastner to make as big of an impact as he has.
“He's been awesome,” Jimmies head coach Danny Neville said. “He’s physical, he’s made shots. He brings us that presence, he’s just a tough guy, rebounds, does all the little things, defends. So, he’s been huge for us.”
Neville said Gastner’s best skill is his passing ability and unselfishness. During his career as a Dragon, he only had five total rebounds in 17 career games. In eight games this season, he has 56 total rebounds.
“I think he’s always had that,” Neville said. “He’s got a bigger body and he’s strong, he’s not the most athletic guy but he uses his physicality to get rebounds.”
The Jimmies were Gastner’s first offer coming out of Lake City High School.
“What we thought he would be is what he is for us now,” Neville said. “He’s a really smart player, he’s got good size. I think the best thing about him is he can defend multiple positions. He can guard a big guy and he can guard a guard.”
Gastner said the difference between the recruiting process from high school to college is how he is more educated on the way college and college athletics work now. Gastner said his expectations for this season were to not be stapled to the bench and to try to compete late into the season.
“From what I’ve heard, Jamestown’s been really successful the last couple years and they’re a gritty team,” Gastner said. “So when I was coming here, Neville made it clear that I was going to get more playing minutes than I had at Moorhead so I was expecting just to come in and work hard. For the season, our big goal is to win it all but we have to take it day by day, game by game, and win a game at a time.”
When he was looking to transfer, Neville said the coaching staff relied on their relationship that was built with Gastner when he was coming out of high school to try to get him to join the program. Neville said he and assistant coach Tyler Petersen reached out to Gastner when he entered the transfer portal. Neville said in general they don’t pay a ton of attention to recruits who decide to go somewhere else once they make that decision.
“We don’t pay attention to them much until they transfer,” Neville said. “Obviously, if we’ve had prior contact with them and recruited them previously, we’re going to have a good chance to get them if they do end up transferring.”
Gastner came to the Jimmies from the NCAA Division II level, which he said is not tremendously different on the floor, outside of the arm length and size of plays at the higher level.
“I would say the speed is probably the same but the players at higher levels, they’re just more length,” Gastner said. “A lot of players have bigger wingspans and are taller. So, playing here I can find mismatches because I’m used to playing against 6’6 guards that can defend in the post. But here if I can have a 6’ 4 person, the same height as me, I know how to create a shot and get open over them.”