Interview with Raymond Felton

Raymond Felton

The following is the transcript of an interview with Raymond Felton of Latta (SC) High. This past weekend you attended the UNC - Maryland game. What did you think of the school while you were up there?

Raymond: It's a good school. The people around us were supporting us. Who was up there with you?

Raymond: All my teammates. Did you hear the crowd cheering about you while you were there?

Raymond: Yes sir. What did you think of the game?

Raymond: It was a good game. It was better than the Marquette game [which Raymond attended]. It was more lively. The crowd was more into it. It was a better game. Could you see yourself fitting into that UNC-Maryland game while you were there?

Raymond: Hehe. I wish I could've been out there playing. Every time I see a basketball bounce, I wish I could be out there playing. Yes, I do. What do you think was the key to the Carolina win?

Raymond: Their defense and once their defense got into it and started locking down the Maryland shooters, then they started hitting. They just went from there. Did you get to talk to any of the players while you were there?

Raymond: I talked to Haywood. I talked to Forte. I talked to Capel. Talked to Curry. What kind of things did they have to say?

Raymond: They said they'd heard a lot about me, wished me the best of luck. I just told them, "Good game." What position do you see yourself playing in college?

Raymond: At my height right now, I'd say the point guard position. But I could play the "2", too. At my height, I probably couldn't play that position because there will be a lot of taller guys, like 6'5", 6'6" So, right now, I see myself playing the "1". So which position do you prefer?

Raymond: It really doesn't matter. I hear your dad's got "game." Do you and he face off?

Raymond: We haven't faced off since about three years now. Who won most of those games?

Raymond: Oh, he did! [laughing]. When did you first beat your dad in basketball?

Raymond: I haven't beat him yet! We haven't played since then, really [Raymond and father both laughing] You have a good friend that's going to Georgia, I hear. Is that right?

Raymond: Yes sir. How important is that going to be in your decision-making about a college?

Raymond: I'm not going to base my decision on that. But Georgia is also a good school. There isn't wrong with that school. Their program may not be as popular as North Carolina, but it is still a good school. I'm not going to base my decision just because my friend is going there. I mean, I would love to play with him, yes, but I'm not going to base my decision on that. Tell us about your game. Break it down for us.

Raymond: I like to play defense. I can move my feet pretty well, stay in front of my man. I can see the court real good when I'm coming down the court and I'm going through the lane. I can see the open man. I've got a pretty good shot from the perimeter. I can handle the ball. They don't really steal the ball from me. I can jump. What's your favorite memory about a basketball game?

Raymond: The game I most remember was three years ago and I was playing AAU ball up in Winthrop. I hit two buzzer shots to win the game. I hit the first buzzer shot to take us into overtime and I hit the second one to win the game. I remember that the most out of all games. That was against an AAU team out of Florida. What are you going to look for as you consider schools?

Raymond: A school where I can find my major. Basically, if I need help, that they've got tutors that will help me out. [A place where] I can concentrate, doing my work. And the kind of style the team plays. So I'm going to look at all these things. What do you want to study? Are you leaning toward a particular area of study?

Raymond: I was thinking about going into computer science or computer technology but I haven't made my mind up yet. What style of play do you think of when you mention "the kind of style the team plays?"

Raymond: I like a team that gives the ball to their guards and they just push the ball. They've got to set plays up, of course, I know that, but if they get a rebound, they push the ball up the court. That's the kind of game I like. I can understand, North Carolina, they love to give the ball to their post men. But they also let Forte and Curry create sometimes, too. I like that. If I'm seeing you for the first time, what do I notice about your game?

Raymond: That I, not bragging, but I can shoot pretty well, I can dish pretty well, I can see the court… I love to play defense, get a lot of steals, get a lot of assists and rebounds. And I average about 3-4 dunks every game. How important is immediate playing time to you?

Raymond: It's important because I do want to play once I get there, but I'd like to earn my position. I don't want anything to be given to me. Like some people say they guarantee me a starting position once I get there. I like that, of course, starting for a Division I school, but I'd like to work for my position. I'd like to go there and earn my spot. That's the way I am. What's your impression of the University of North Carolina?

Raymond: It seems like a good school-pretty big. You can get around campus-from where the freshmen stay at, you can get to your classrooms fairly easy. The school is-it's a good school. What do you think of the Carolina coaching staff?

Raymond: They're cool. They're a young staff. They let the team play. They let the guys play. I mean, he gets on them as a coach - I like that. Who's been here to watch you from the Carolina coaching staff?

Raymond: Coach Q, Coach Wojcik, Coach D… those three. They've been. Something happened last summer. All of a sudden, everybody is saying "Raymond Felton!" It's all over the place. What happened to make this come about? It was like you boarded a rocket ship to the top!

Raymond: [Smiling] I went out to Vegas and to California to the adidas tournament. And I averaged 30 points while I was [out] there. I just played my game. I hit my threes. Drove to the basket. Dished. I drove on big 7-footers, 6'11" guys. I did all kinds of things. I guess that impressed the coaches. What summer teams do you play for?

Raymond: I play for Beach Ball Select out of Myrtle Beach [SC]. So which one are you going to play for this coming summer?

Raymond: Beach Ball Select. What camps are you going to be going to this coming summer?

Raymond: I'm going to adidas and I'm going to Five Star, what's his name-Garfinkel? I might go to his. I'm going to a lot of tournaments, really only to two camps. If you had a "dream" career, what would it look like, Raymond?

Raymond: My dream is to finish, graduate from high school, go to college, get my degree from college, and hopefully I'll make it to the league. And if I don't, at least I'll have my degree [and] my major to fall back on. I can get a good job and still get paid a lot of money. I do want to make it to the league to do something that I really love. How's your free throw shooting?

Raymond: This year it's been great. I shoot a good percent this year. Where do most of your points seem to come from?

Raymond: Most of the points come from steals, three pointers, offensive rebounds, driving. I mean, they come from a lot of places. I get offensive rebounds, lay it back up. I drive to the basket, lay it up. Free throw line, three pointers, dunks… Do you have a favorite way to score?

Raymond: No, not really. I just play-I just play ball. Tell me about your defense.

Raymond: When I see my opponent I go at him as… I know I can stay in front of him. That's why I go at him. I just go at him like that. I just play defense on him, don't let him go by me. If he goes by me, I call help. My teammates help me on defense. Do you have somebody that you pattern your game after?

Raymond: No sir. I try to be my own self. People tell me I play similar to… Remember, your dad's sitting right beside you! Better be careful with this question.

Raymond: [Smiling] People tell me I play similar to him [looking at his dad]. If you want to say somebody… What do you like about your dad's game?

Raymond: He can shoot, pass. He can do everything, really. Have you ever been seriously injured?

Raymond: I broke my arm, playing football, my eighth grade year. What do you like about being recruited?

Raymond: I'm glad to know that a lot of people-that I'm known everywhere. That makes me feel good. Being recruited, that's great! Being known around the country makes me feel good. Do you ever get tired of it all [the recruiting]?

Raymond: Not really. Sometimes, at certain times when I don't really feel like talking, I get questions but I still answer them. I might not want to but I do anyway. Who's the toughest player you've ever played against (besides your dad)?

Raymond: The toughest player I've played against was-see, I played against a lot of guys during the summer, but to me, they weren't tougher than playing against Jarrod Gerald [at Mullins (SC) HS-the guy that's going to Georgia, my friend. I played against him this year… He's really the hardest guy I've played against. Carlos Hurt, out of Texas. I think he's from Texas. I played against him at Nike camp. Do you have any interests and hobbies? I know you've made quite a commitment to basketball.

Raymond: Other than [basketball], just being with my friends. Going places with my dad. What person do you most look up to in life?

Raymond: My dad. He's always been there for me. He's always going places with me. He's also like a brother besides a daddy. We're always going places, hanging with each other. What schools are you really interested in?

Raymond: North Carolina. There's a lot of them. North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Clemson, Kentucky, Cincinnati, NC State, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech. There's a lot of them. There's a lot of them on there that I'm just considering. Do any of the schools stand out above the rest?

Raymond: Not really. I can't say that right now. Is anyone not recruiting you that you wish would become involved?

Raymond: Really, the only [school] that hasn't written me was Duke so, no, not really. What official visits would you like to make?

Raymond: I'd like to go up and stay a weekend up there at North Carolina, stay a weekend at South Carolina. I mean, there's a lot of places I'd like to go and stay [for a weekend]: Georgia, I'd like to go there and stay for a weekend. There's a lot of places I'd like to have official visits to. Have you scheduled any official visits yet?

Raymond: No sir, I haven't scheduled anything. Do you have a timetable for making a decision about a school?

Raymond: No sir. No. Do you want to commit to a school early?

Raymond: I've thought about it. I've talked about it. I haven't made my mind up yet. Where does your family have a preference for where they want you to play basketball?

Raymond: They say it's really basically my decision. They'll be happy for me wherever I go. Who do you think does a good job of recruiting?

Raymond: North Carolina, they send me FedExs a lot. They send me faxes. Georgia Tech sends me faxes. Wake Forest, South Carolina. There's a lot of them that send me faxes, other than the letters, FedExs and stuff. North Carolina sends me the most. They send me FedExs every day. If a school has a position as a point guard for you, but another school says that you'd play mainly the two, would that make a difference to you?

Raymond: It really doesn't matter. What do you see as your greatest asset as a basketball player?

Raymond: My greatest strength is getting the team involved. I love getting my teammates involved. I get my points and I score, but I worry about my teammates first. I let them get involved first. I'd say that's my strongest point. Where would you like to see yourself improve?

Raymond: Everywhere. I can always improve everywhere. I'd love to see myself improve everywhere-all parts of my game. What style of play do you like the most?

Raymond: Push the ball up the court and just play. Tell me about the classroom. How's it going?

Raymond: It's going good so far, it's going good. At first, I struggled a little bit with Spanish but I got through that fairly well at the end of the semester. Now I'm into my math and it's going well so far. Tell me what kind of personality you have.

Raymond: I hang out with my friends [from] around the school, but I am by myself most of the time. People may come around me when I'm in school, but most of the time you might see me by myself. Somebody may come up to me and talk to me but, other than that, I'll just be chilled. Not to say I'm a quiet person but I like to be to myself when I'm at school. Do you have a favorite college team?

Raymond: I can't say it's a favorite but I used to always love North Carolina since I can remember Michael Jordan played there. Rasheed Wallace, Vince and all of them. I love North Carolina, but as to it being a favorite, I can't really say that. Who would you compare your game to, either on the college or the pro level?

Raymond: Some people say I play like Jason Williams in assists. But, I mean, I don't know [grinning]. What's your long-term goal in life?

Raymond: To be successful and, hopefully, to make it to the league. What's your present height?

Raymond: My height right now? About 6'1 and ½ ". 6'2", maybe. What is your present weight?

Raymond: 185. What's your shoe size?

Raymond: 12. Are you still growing?

Raymond: Hopefully. I hope so. I think I am. I hope so. I hope I get taller. I'm definitely going to get bigger. I hope I get taller. Have you been timed in the 40?

Raymond: 4.6. Do you know what your vertical is?

Raymond: 37". How much do you bench press?

Raymond: The last I benched is 225. Any NBA teams contact anybody about you?

Raymond: I heard some NBA recruiters and scouts were at some of the games at the Beach Ball [Tournament], at one of my games. I heard the Phoenix Suns' NBA recruiter was there. And one of Charlotte's recruiters was there and one of Chicago's was there. Would it be difficult to leave your home state and this area to go play college ball?

Raymond: Would it be difficult? I wouldn't say it wouldn't be difficult. It would be hard to leave my hometown and my family, but by leaving the state… Not really, not really. When did you first start getting recruiting letters?

Raymond: My first letter I got was from Notre Dame, my eighth grade year. When did North Carolina first make contact with you?

Raymond: This summer. What characteristics would you most like in a college coach?

Raymond: Discipline. Teach…work… A coach that can make me better, teach me different parts of the game. Have a discipline [with] the team. Have fun with his team. Being just a coach that's down to earth. What's more important than basketball to you?

Raymond: My family. How do you handle all the pressure and all the attention you're getting?

Raymond: I don't handle it. I just act like it's not even there. Have you ever played against somebody that you thought was better than you?

Raymond: No sir. Every person I've played against, I feel they're the same as me.

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