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A Friendship Destined to Last a Lifetime – Wheeling’s Jarett Haines and Jordan Reid

WHEELING, W.Va., April 19 – To make it in college sports, you need to have the athletic ability and the determination to become successful. For many collegiate athletes, their biggest supporters are the people around them every day. Teammates and rivals forge great bonds. Athletes often publicly declare admiration or simply help each other out. The friendship that Jarett Haines and Jordan Reid have forged as basketball players at Wheeling University is one that stretches far beyond the basketball court, it is a friendship that will live on long after they graduate in May.

Jarett Haines (left)and Jordan Reid (right) bonded and formed a friendship that they believe will last a lifetime. The two Cardinal basketball players pushed one another on and off the court. This year they both entered the University’s 1,000 point club and celebrated with teammates.

When Haines and Reid met during their first open gym practice in August of 2019, they knew immediately they would be friends for life. That first shoot around the day before classes was actually the second time the two players met. The two Cardinal stars played at community colleges prior to enrolling at Wheeling – it was during their final season, their teams played one another.

“I actually didn’t play (in the game) because I was injured,” Reid recalled. Haines chimed in, “At the open gym, I looked at Jordan and said to myself, ‘he looks familiar.’”

As the two talked after that practice, they realized where they first saw one another – at a basketball game. They left the open gym, walked to the cafeteria, had lunch, and have been friends ever since.

“We realized that first day, we had a lot in common – both of us came to Wheeling University after two years at community colleges, and neither of us could find a good fit at the next level,” Reid explained. The Maryland native admits his ankle injury kept many colleges from offering him an opportunity to play at the next level.

“I was ready to find a job and go to work,” Reid said. Just two weeks before the start of classes, he got a call from former Wheeling coach Will Ryan, who was rebuilding the Cardinal program. Ryan recruited both Haines and Reid to come to play for the Cardinals.

Reid worked his way into Wheeling University’s record books during the Ohio Dominican game by earning his place in Wheeling’s 1,000 point club. Haines became the 48th player in the history of the Wheeling University Basketball program to score 1,000 points, just 18 days later against Frostburg.

Fast forward to Spring 2022, the two 1,000 point scorers are preparing to graduate and leave Wheeling University and go on to the next chapter. They took some time to reminisce about the past three seasons playing in a Cardinal uniform.

“They are two of my absolute favorite students. I have enjoyed watching the two of them play together over the past three years. One of the reasons they’re so good together is that they play off of one another. They push each other, they are the kind of players that make other players better so their relationship brought the whole team up,” said Wheeling University President Ginny R. Favede.

Neither player was a vocal leader on the court, they admit. But that all changed this summer, Reid explained.

“We talked over the summer that we had to step up and be leaders on the court. Jarett was our vocal leader, but I needed to be more outspoken at practice and in games,” Reid said.

Haines added, “Jordan did it by example. We taught each other how to better. I showed him how to be more vocal on the floor, and he brought out the best of me as a player and a student.” Reid said he “pushed Jarett in the classroom and he pushed me in the gym.”

Most importantly, the two players formed a bond that would help each other in every aspect of their lives.

“We could tell when the other was down, and we would pull the other up,” Reid noted. Haines added, “We have a powerful bond. I know that I’m the only one that can pick Jordan up, and he knows how to lift me up when I need it.”

Their strong connection didn’t keep the other from a little friendly trash talking.

Haines explained, “There is no doubt we are competitive. So, I would call him out in practice and when we played video games. That was my way to push him to step up his play.”

Reid said he didn’t mind when Haines pushed him. “We pushed one another. It was done out of love – for the other person, and it made the team better.”

In May, Haines will walk across the stage to receive his undergraduate business degree, and Reid will be there cheering him on. Reid completed his undergraduate degree last year and came back to finish out his eligibility while beginning his MBA.

Like their teammates – Haywood Highsmith and Pat Moesh — who set an example for them, Haines and Reid believe they are leaving a program set for success.

“We set a great foundation for the program to grow. I can’t wait to come back (during the alumni game) and talk about being an ‘old-timer.” Reid said.

Haines added, “This team is set to win a championship.”

Their coach, Chris Richardson said, the word that best describes Haines and Reid is loyalty. “In the era where it is so easy and almost encouraged for kids to hop from school to school, they stayed loyal to Wheeling … through COVID,  a coaching change and being granted an extra year of eligibility. I think that shows the real character of these young men first and foremost.”

He agrees that they left their mark on the program. “I already miss coaching them because I knew I was getting their best every day. They know I’ve got their back for life, and I know that they’ve got mine. That’s why you coach – because of the journey you go through together and the relationships that you build. They’ll be successful even after the ball stops bouncing. They’ve made Wheeling proud on the court, and they’ll continue to make us proud as alumni,” Richardson added.

Haines and Reid said when they leave Wheeling in May, they will leave with many memories – from celebrating their 21st birthdays together to classroom assignments to bus trips to spending breaks at each other’s homes.

“I think we were destined to be here at Wheeling together. Coming out of the community college system to our birthdays being just a few days apart,” Haines explained.

“We share a friendship and bond that not many teammates have had. So, when we walked off the court in our final game, we left knowing we gave it our all and left it all on the floor,” Reid said.

Haines summed it up. “We’ve shared every emotion together. You know when you have a lifetime friend. This is just the beginning of our friendship.”