Austin Reaves has become one of the blossoming stars of the NBA postseason. The 24-year-old announced his presence to the national audience by pouring in 23 points and screaming "I'm him" in front of the home Memphis crowd in the opening game of the playoffs, a 128-112 LA Lakers' win on Sunday.
But those who have paid attention to Reaves know that he has been doing it all season. The second-year guard has averaged 13.0 points, 3.4 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game while shooting 39.8% on 3-point attempts this season. There is a real argument for Reaves being the third-best player on the Lakers, and he should continue to be a key piece moving forward.
There has also been a strong interest sparked in his off-court life. The man who social media has coined "Hillbilly Kobe" has been in a relationship with his girlfriend, Jenna Barber, since the two were in high school.
Who is Jenna Barber?
Jenna Barber and Austin Reaves first met at Cedar Ridge High School in Newark, Arkansas, where they both grew up. The two have been together since this point, despite the long distance.
Reaves first attended college at Wichita State, where he spent two seasons before transferring to Oklahoma. It was with the Sooners where Reaves blossomed into a collegiate star and NBA prospect.
During this time, Barber attended Arkansas Community College and then the University of Arkansas. She graduated in 2022 and has worked at a pharmaceutical company since 2019. Barber has been seen at a number of Lakers games eagerly cheering on Reaves.
It is heartbreaking to many that Reaves is locked up in a committed relationship, but all appears to be well with the high school sweethearts. According to her Facebook profile, Barber still lives in her hometown of Newark, Arkansas.
Reaves is set to become a free agent this offseason as his two-year deal worth just under $2.5 million is set to expire. Many believe his strong play has set him up for a large payday this offseason, with some experts believing it will be in the four-year, $99 million range.
It should be noted that Reaves is a restricted free agent and the Lakers will have a chance to match any offer. He has expressed his desire to stay in Los Angeles, but the team is not in a friendly spot from a salary cap perspective, so this will be a storyline to watch.