Dillard (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) forward RaiQuan Gray is down to six schools and plans to select one of them during the fall signing period. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound three-star has Memphis, Maryland, Baylor, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Ole Miss in the running, with Gray attempting to see each at least once coming up before ending his recruitment.
“I just had good relationships with the coaches from those six schools, really,” Gray said. “The love I’ve received from those staffs has been great, and each of them have been on me since at least the beginning of the summer. Each of the schools has made me a priority and a big part of the recruiting process.”
The Dillard product, who shined on the Under Armour circuit this July with the Florida Vipers, has already taken one official to Baylor back on May 6, leaving him with four. Gray will return to Baylor unofficially at some point, while he’ll take another unofficial to nearby Florida State Aug. 4.
He discussed each of his six leaders and why those programs made the cut over his other 20-plus verbals.
Baylor: “I was there before for an official, and it’s just a great campus and a great feel around the school. It’s a good education there, and the basketball program has had a lot of success. Coach [Scott] Drew, Coach [Tim] Mahoney, Coach [Jerome] Tang, Coach [Alvin] Brooks, Coach [Paul] Mills, like the whole staff loves me and trusts in me. It’s a great staff there, and I love them too.”
Florida State: “The reason Florida State is there has a lot to do with Coach [Leonard] Hamilton. He’s honest, he’s straightforward, and, to be honest, it’s like talking to my father. He talks to me about my day, how things are going in school, my family –everything. And I’ve known Coach [Christian] Young since my freshman year, and he’s just a great dude.
“Plus, I know a lot of people in Tallahassee, which helps. Also, I feel like Florida State plays the best basketball in the state and competes in the best conference in the ACC.
“I’ll be back at Florida State [Aug. 4] and I might even take an official there too.”
Memphis: “I actually grew up a Memphis fan and had a lot of Tigers gear growing up. I always admired the Barton brothers and what they did there. My mom, she grew up in Jackson, Tenn., like 45 minutes from Memphis’ campus, and I still have aunts, uncles and cousins all in the area. It’s kind of like a home away from home for me. I’m excited to get up there for an official, and I’m thinking about Sept. 17.”
Virginia Tech: “Coach [Buzz] Williams and Coach [Steve] Roccaforte are two guys I really, really love. They’re really honest with me. Some schools will offer you, and then stop contacting you, but Virginia Tech offered me after my sophomore year and has stayed on me.
“Also, Coach Rocc coached my AAU coach in college, so we have that connection going. And I’m really good friends with Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who is committed to Tech, and we talk like every day. So [Tech] has a lot going for them.”
Ole Miss: “The coaches are like family to me, Coach [Andy] Kennedy is a great guy, and he’s good friends with my mom too. And Ole Miss is a program that’s getting on the map. I’d love to be part of building a program up into a national contender.”
Maryland: “With Maryland, Coach [Cliff] Warren has been recruiting me for awhile. He’s familiar with the area down here since he used to coach at Jacksonville State. He’s in contact with me all the time, and he texts me like every day. He’s been telling me how I can be a big-time player in their program, and how they like how versatile I am and can do so many different things for them in their offense, which stands out to me.
“And Maryland is a big-time program, one of the tops in the country. It’s a great opportunity to play on a national stage, and it’s a great opportunity to win championships. I’m looking to take an official there too.”
As of now, Gray said all six of his contenders are sitting on an even plane. He said each of the staffs have stayed in contact equally and have made it clear they covet his services.
“Mainly I’m looking for what school fits my style, where I can get the most playing time and just the general feel around the program,” said Gray. Who averaged about 15 points, nine rebounds, 3.5 steals and 3.5 assists during the Under Armour Finals in mid-July. “Like I said, I plan on visiting each of the schools to see what they have to offer. My goal is to see enough and then commit by late September or early November. That’s what I’m striving for.
“But, if I do see a school that blows me away, then I could commit way earlier than that. We just have to see.”