Friendship Fuels The Game

In Reagan Hinton’s home, basketball is not just a pastime, it’s a family lifestyle. With four older brothers who also played high school ball, Reagan has grown up on the sport. All the Hinton kids, including younger sister Kandalyn, started with a small adjustable hoop in the backyard and worked their way up to a ten foot standard. Reagan attributes a lot of his skill to his older brothers.

Hurricane High Class of 2016 Basketball 3.7GPA

“They are one of the reasons I am as good as I am at basketball. They helped me practice while I was growing up. As a little kid, they always included me so that I could get better,” he says.

Even though Reagan and Kandalyn are the only Hinton kids living at home, Reagan still has plenty of opportunity to go up against his siblings. When his brothers visit, they often start a game in the backyard, occasionally even getting their mom, Nancy, to join in. “I do play sometimes with them on the back court, but if they get really into it, I don’t play,” she says with a laugh. Reagan says she’s best at passing him the ball, so he can shoot. Reagan’s father, Brian, is also a great basketball mentor to the family. Recently his basketball team won a gold medal in the Huntsman Senior games.

Reagan’s friends also joined him in the back yard at an early age, and eventually, they began playing in border leagues together. “Our basketball team this year, we’ve been playing together basically since the 5th grade,” Raegan says, “We have a lot of team bonding, and we are sharing the ball really well. No one’s being really selfish and shooting all the time.” Nancy agrees that the varsity team players have a special bond. “They work together, and they just mesh well. There’s not really any of them that are cocky or try to be show-offs or ball hogs.” She adds, “It’s just been fun to watch them as a team grow up through the years and do well.”

“You’ve got to work super hard in the classroom because if you don’t get good enough grades, you’re not allowed to play any sports. You just put work in in the classroom before you play basketball.“

The relationships Reagan has created through basketball are one of the reasons he loves the game so much. “The thing I like most about basketball is building friendships and being able to play as a team and work together.”

Reagan hopes his teammates will remember him simply as being a good guy. He loves to crack jokes and keep the mood light at practice and games. When things get tense, he reminds his teammates that they’ve got to work together. “If anyone gets angry or mad at their other teammates, I just calm them down and help them. I tell them that we are a team and we gotta play as a team so that we can win.”

Teammate Kirt McDaniel agrees that Raegan’s personality has a positive effect on the team. “He never really gets mad at anyone, and he’s always pretty even keel,” says Kirt. “He has an even, steady presence on our team.”

Reagan finds that, just like he enjoys playing basketball with some of his best friends, he also enjoys being around his peers at school. “School is actually really fun. I like being around all the kids and just learning and being in that environment with them.” With this friendly attitude, it should come as no surprise that one of Raegan’s favorite classes is social dance. He enjoys learning the dances and says doing so has helped with his basketball footwork. Of course, there’s another reason Reagan likes social dance. “There’s a lot of cute girls in there,” he admits.

While social dance contributes to his footwork on the court, Reagan attributes basketball to helping him academically. The academic standards for athletes set by the school motivate him to do his best in class. “You’ve got to work super hard in the classroom because if you don’t get good enough grades, you’re not allowed to play any sports. You just put work in in the classroom before you play basketball.”

Reagan recalls one of his field goals against Pine View as the most memorable moment of his basketball career. It was in a JV game during his sophomore year. He recounts, “We were going into half-time, and we were playing Pineview. Pineview came down and made a lay-up. My team inbounded it to me, and I just lobbed it up from half-court, and it just banked in.” Although it was only at the end of half-time rather than a game-winning shot, Reagan said he was still pretty pumped.

There was a time, however, when Reagan wondered if his basketball days were over. Before basketball season began his junior year, Reagan suffered a lower back injury. “The muscle was inflamed, and it was torn tissue,” he said. “I was nervous that I was never going to be able to be that good because I couldn’t twist very much.”

He spent the majority of open gym that year watching his teammates, unable to fully participate, and under strict instructions not to overdo himself. Reagan faithfully attended his physical therapy sessions and performed the prescribed exercises each night. His dedication payed off. “Through prayer and hard work, I was able to recover,” Reagan says. After several weeks of physical therapy, he was ready to play.

“Basketball is a fun game,” he says, “especially if you are playing with your best friends.”

With his back healed and his continued academic success, Reagan’s future looks bright. He hopes to serve a mission for his LDS faith soon after graduation this year. Upon his return, he hopes to attend Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University, or Dixie State University with the goal of becoming a police detective. He says there are a couple of reasons he is drawn to this career. “I just really like adrenalin rushes and working with people and helping them do right.”

Reagan has a good start at helping people do right with his great example of service. He received his Eagle Scout Award at the age of 15 and is a part of the Interact Service Club at Hurricane High School. Additionally, he was able to serve as a senior mentor this year.

Reagan is happy to be beginning his senior year of basketball and has high hopes for his team. “I’m just really excited about our team this year. We have really great coaches. Coach Langston is doing really great things for us ,and we just got a really good group of kids, well rounded in our fundamentals.” Reagan expects they will do well and adds, “Hopefully, we will be able to get to the playoffs this year.”

No matter how the season ends for the Hurricane High Tigers this year, one thing is for sure: Reagan will enjoy every minute of it. “Basketball is a fun game,” he says, “especially if you are playing with your best friends.” • HSSI