How Trey Reeves went from OSU walk-on to Harvard Law School
For weeks this spring, Trey Reeves did not ignore a phone call from a number he didn’t recognize. He even answered obvious spam calls.
The anticipation was nearly too much.
Which law school acceptance would arrive each day? Virginia did. Chicago did.
Name a top school and it likely accepted the former Oklahoma State basketball walk-on.
But on this day, Harvard — arguably the best of the best — called to offer Reeves a chance to attend its prestigious law school.
“When you get a phone call from Harvard, it’s hard to turn that one down,” Reeves said.
He had to celebrate.
Except nobody was around. His soon-to-be wife, Steffa, was unable to answer her phone. Neither were his parents.
Twenty minutes passed before Steffa called back.
“I’m lucky I got back to him,” she said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting that this time. It definitely caught me off guard.
“I was overjoyed for him, but not surprised. I knew he could do it.”
That was the day that began a new adventure for Reeves.
As the calendar turns to September, OSU is already a few weeks into the fall semester. But one of its favorite sons is set to begin classes in the program that two United States presidents, numerous attorney generals and politicians, and several supreme court justices completed.
Reeves’ journey from small-town Gans to Stillwater was charmed. Now, his journey to Cambridge, Massachusetts, is even perhaps more enchanting.
“I’ve always been someone that I want to do everything I can,” Reeves said in a phone interview from his home in the Boston suburb Somerville.
“If I can get to the top, I want to get to the top. Once I give everything I’ve got, I can’t do anything but hold my head high and know that I did give everything I had.”
Reeves arrived as a walk-on at OSU in 2016 known just as the son of OSU legend Bryant “Big Country” Reeves. Chants of “Little Country” and “we want Trey” were common from OSU’s student section the next four years.
Reeves played in just 26 games and made one field goal in four years. His contributions elsewhere were more vital.
He led the team. He inspired with a daily quote. He was a superstar in the classroom.
“That was one of the best experiences of my life,” Reeves said. “Something that turned out way better than I could ever imagine.”
But few outside of the team realized the heavy workload he carried in the classroom.
Reeves was a Senior of Significance — putting him in the top 1% of the class — when he graduated with his accounting degree in December 2019.
He entered school planning to become an accountant. He even took one semester to primarily focus on earning his license to become a Certified Public Accountant.
By his junior year, he started focusing on law school. He began to research ways to combine accounting and law. Business law. Tax law. Contract law. So, he studied more, all while playing basketball. In his final semester on the team, he was focused on studying for his LSAT, the admission test to law schools.
And he scored in the 97th percentile. “It was a lot of work, but it paid off,” Reeves said. “It was challenging. But there’s been stuff I’ve had to do since my freshman year. I spent much more time studying for the LSAT than I did really anything else throughout school.
“But it wasn’t a totally new thing for me. I had kinda been able to find a balance of being able to give everything I could to the team as well as take care of my business academically and things like that.”
Reeves met Steffa one night in the business building when she was studying. The next semester, they were in classes together. They got married on May 31.
By then, they knew Harvard was the next stop.
They bounced between Frisco, Texas — Steffa’s hometown — and Gans until they moved to Somerville in August. Steffa has a job lined up at an accounting firm beginning in January.
More importantly, they’ve spent the better part of the month adjusting to their new surroundings and their new life together.
“All these changes, my life looks a little bit different than it did a year ago,” Reeves said. “But it’s all good changes.”
And through it all, Reeves never lost focus. He maintained a balance between school, basketball and his personal life.
That in itself is worth celebrating. “I have never seen a harder worker or somebody more driven than Trey,” Steffa said. “It really is a gift that he has. He does everything just so well and honestly gives every little bit 100%. He gave basketball 100%, he gave school 100% and then studied for the LSAT 100%. Amidst all that, he gave me 100%.
“Honestly, balancing all of that and performing and studying and everything and doing it with excellence was really amazing and humbling to watch him do.
“He really is gifted.”
Jacob Unruh covers college sports for The Oklahoman. You can send your story ideas to him at junruh@ oklahoman.com or on Twitter at @jacobunruh. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription.