Not much has changed for Denver big man Ray Hall in the last month. The 6-10 250 center from Mullen High has primarily been focusing on his game and watching the NCAA tourney since his high school season ended. Things are about to pick up quite a bit though as he gets set for a busy spring and summer of AAU ball with his RBC West team.
“I’ve just been working out and playing basketball lately,” Hall said of his recent activities. “I’ve just been thinking about the major schools that I’ve already mentioned on my list.”
Those “major” schools that Hall is referring to is his top four list that currently includes UCLA, North Carolina, Kansas and Illinois. Of that fantastic foursome, so far, only UCLA has offered. Last month during the NCAA tournament Hall cheered for all his teams but said nothing that came from the 2005 tourney affected his feelings towards any of the four.
“I just watched the NCAA tournament, saw what they did and stuff and my thoughts were the exactly same as before the tourney,” admitted Hall. “I think North Carolina is a great team. Illinois was a great team but they just didn’t have it inside like Carolina did.
Kansas was a good team, but they just got hurt with the loss of Keith Langford down the stretch. Their coaches are all good coaches and have good programs pretty much every year.”
So, which coach would Hall prefer playing for? That remains to be seen. Hall’s definitely setting his sights high though and looks forward to checking out each program much more thoroughly in the months ahead.
“My top four is still UCLA, North Carolina, Kansas and Illinois. I want to start figuring out visit dates pretty soon. Here in the next couple of weeks or so I’ll do that. (I hope to visit) UCLA, North Carolina and Illinois. I’ve been to Kansas a lot so I know what their school looks like and everything. I’ve pretty much got them down to a tee.”
Hall’s experience in Lawrence can be traced to AAU events in Kansas City and Lawrence that have put him near the KU campus in the past year. As for other programs worth visiting, Georgia Tech might qualify.
“Georgia Tech and Illinois have been in contact with me the most lately. They’ve told me about their programs and how they can make me a better player. I’d put Georgia Tech on my second list with Syracuse and Washington.
Hall says the Huskies have moved onto his radar screen of late as the junior big man has learned more about their school.
“Washington has been there a while but I never considered them a major candidate until this year because I didn’t know much about their school. This year I’ve gotten a lot of stuff from them though.”
All seven of those programs have certainly impressed Hall this past season and now it’s his turn to impress them with a very busy and challenging AAU schedule ahead.
“This month I’m going to Vegas and Houston,” said Hall. “I’m really looking forward to Vegas because we played there last year and it was a good tournament. I’ve heard that Houston is a really good tournament as well. So, I’m looking forward to that one too.”
“Rocky Mountain” Ray says he tries to enter tournaments like these with confidence and a calm presence on the floor. If he stays calm and confident, he likes his chances.
“I look at it as another tourney that I’ve got to do well in. I try not to get nervous because if I get nervous I play bad. I just try to go in calm and play my best.”