Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal member Reagan Berry, a member of the Cheatwood family, is serious about basketball and will continue playing even after her senior season at Tecumseh (Oklahoma) High School is over.
Because of her desire to be successful playing in college, she accepted an invitation in summer of 2023 to attend the first National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Women’s College Basketball Academy.
One of the coaches whom Berry worked with at the combine was Gary Van Atta, the winningest coach in Alabama’s Montevallo University history. He has led two teams to the NAIA Final Four.
The week-long event in Memphis, Tennessee, was centered around basketball, but the training Berry received will help her find success on and off the court.
To be one of eight female players in Oklahoma invited to the camp, Berry’s basketball skills were an important consideration. But the camp also brought in many off-the-court lessons for the players. They learned about letters of intent with colleges, the names, image and likeness (NIL) sponsorships that can provide money for college athletes, and about leadership in basketball and beyond.
Berry said she isn’t always a loud vocal leader on the court, but she leads in other ways.
“I always try to show my work ethic as a player,” Berry said. “And there’ll be times where I talk to a player and try to help them out. So, I tried to do a little bit of both.”
Her coach, Eldon Gentry, said Berry has established herself as a leader.
“She’s a gym rat,” Gentry said. “Her basketball IQ has grown immensely. You can tell she’s one of the select few that actually love basketball. She puts in a lot of work.”
Berry, 6’1”, said her love for the game began when she started playing at the age of 4. She was always taller than her classmates, and that helped her in basketball. Her height is still an advantage for her.
“I am more comfortable inside, but one thing that I was really working on this summer was trying to bring my game out a little bit to help spread the floor and get more opportunities for me and my teammates,” Berry said.
Berry has committed to play in college at Oklahoma Christian University.
“One of the big things for me is trying to find a school close to home,” Berry said of the university in Edmond, Oklahoma. “I’m a homebody. I like to be with my family. So that was something that was really important to me.”
Gentry said Berry and the five other seniors on this year’s team will be responsible for the success of the team.
“Last year, we had one player average 18 points per game,” Gentry said. “We don’t need any one of this year’s seniors to do that. We need them as a group to score an extra 18 points per game.”
Berry said her goals for her senior year have more to do with team success than her personal success.
“I want us to go further in the playoffs,” Berry said. “I think this team can do it.”