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Van-Far Athlete of the Week

Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2024 at 9:23 pm

By Brandie Gay

In the two years Pacey Reading has been at Van-Far High School, he has done very well for himself. Van-Far’s talent is not about to thin out anytime soon with the abundance of young ballers playing beyond their years, and this includes Pacey. He is one of the best sophomores in the area with his calm, cool and collected demeanor on the court. One of the first things you notice about the 6-foot, 2-inch athlete is his sweet shooting form. Guard Pacey too lightly and he’ll fire up his 3-point shots and keep them coming.

As a starting five freshman, Pacey played 28 games and scored 196 points. So far as a starting sophomore, Pacey has played 18 games and has already racked up 274 points and there is still more games to play this season. Pacey’s average points per game this year is 10.2 and is well above the national average according to MaxPreps.

Growing up, Pacey and Nikos Connaway would watch their dads, Brett Reading and Pat Connaway, coach young athletes for many years, leading two teams to state.

Pacey and Nikos were always in toe watching and learning the plays from a young age. As commented before, they both grew up in the locker rooms. Pat said, “Pacey brings a lot to the team.  First and foremost he has become that second scoring option that we have been desperately looking for. Nikos isn’t seeing the double teams and as much ‘junk’ defense now because of Pacey’s scoring ability. Those two in less than two years have developed an awesome chemistry where they will look for each other when we need a big bucket.”

Connaway added that, “Last year when Pacey started as a freshman, honestly I was hoping for a 60/40 ratio. What I mean by that is his overall season his play would be 60% positive and 40% negative. No freshman is really ready to start and play at the varsity level, but with hardly any upperclassmen and really no sophomores last year, Pacey got thrown into the fire.

“We knew he wasn’t ready and was going to make mistakes, but we were hoping his positive play would outweigh the negative and it definitely did.  Also, I was really focusing on Pacey’s mental game. There is a lot going on when you’re a freshman. Upperclassmen try to get really physical with you and rough you up because body wise you are not ready for this level of competition. Also, like I told NJ when he was a freshman a lot of people are going to say you are starting/playing because your dad is the coach or a coach. I think both handled that well and also I think proved to everyone that watched us there was a reason they started as freshmen.”

Connaway continued, saying that, “I don’t think people realize what being a coach’s kid is. It’s not privileged and blessed like everyone thinks it is.  They are held to a higher standard; we expect them to be an extension of us out on the floor and make smart choices and be leaders. They also have to listen about the game and mistakes on the floor during games, practices, and the way home from games, at home, etc.  I coach Pacey the exact same way I coach the other kids. I guess the biggest difference is coach is harder on Pacey than the other kids and I treat NJ the same way.”

Connaway noted that, “Pacey’s strengths are definitely his shooting ability and his work ethic. He puts a lot of time in the gym year round working on his fundamentals and his shooting. Right now his weakness is learning how to score without the ball in his hands and handling the physicality, which he is doing so much better this year with and will do even better next year the stronger he gets.”

Not only does Pacey do well in sports but he also does well in school. Mr. Huff, the Chemistry teacher at Van-Far, said, “Pacey is just a very well rounded student. He knows how to mess around and have a good time in class, but he also knows when it’s time to do work. I never have to worry about Pacey not being ready for class. He works hard to understand what we are learning about in Chemistry. He is a joy to have in class.”

In his two years so far at Van-Far High he has accumulated a couple of awards. He was player of the week for Freeman Financial and Insurance on Dec. 12, 2023. He was also named to the 99th Annual Bowling Green Tournament Team and also MVP. He has received Academic All-Conference in basketball and football. Pacey went to state in golf last year and he is also active in FCA, FFA, and First Baptist church.