Raymond Discusses Xavier Verbal, Matta's Move

Toledo St. John's standout B.J. Raymond verbaled to Xavier in May. But with Xavier coach Thad Matta headed to Ohio State, reporters at the Nike Camp queried Raymond on where he stands. We share his comments as well as observations from the camp scene. Click here for more.

One day after learning that Xavier coach Thad Matta had taken the Ohio State head coaching job, Toledo St. John's standout B.J. Raymond met with reporters at the Nike Camp in Indianapolis.

Raymond, Ohio's No. 1 senior prospect, committed to Xavier in May. But with Matta's jump to Ohio State, the 6-6 Raymond was asked if there was a chance he would consider the Buckeyes. At first, his answer seemed decisive. But as the discussion continued, he sent out some mixed signals.

"I was shocked when I heard the news," Raymond told reporters during a break in the action at Nike. "Coach Matta had told me he was going to be there for a long time, but he made a business decision, something he had to make for his family.

"I am sticking with my commitment. Xavier is a great school academically and athletically."

When Raymond learned that XU associate head coach Sean Miller had been elevated to the top spot earlier today, Raymond said, "Coach Miller did everything for me. He put me as the main emphasis for me. That's great news for me. Coach played a lot in my decision. He played a big role in my recruiting."

However, the mixed signals came next as Raymond said, "Ohio State is in the mix, though. I know how Thad Matta's teams play."

Raymond would not sign a letter-of-intent until the fall signing period. It will be interesting to see how hard Matta will pursue Raymond, especially with his former assistant Miller in charge now at Xavier.

As a junior, Raymond helped lead St. John's to a 23-5 mark and a berth in the Division I state championship game. He averaged 19.5 points per game. He had 26 points, five rebounds and three blocks in a state semifinal game win over Columbus Brookhaven.

Raymond is ranked as the No. 60 senior prospect nationally by TheInsidersHoops.com.

Camp Observations

* Of Ohio prospects at the camp, Raymond is probably the highest profile player. He looked smooth again in action on Thursday, but also worked hard as a defensive rebounder to help his team.

* All-Ohio Red AAU teammates James Dews, a 6-3 shooting guard from Lakota East, and Josh Chichester, a 6-8 junior post from Lakota West, were each mixing it up with the seniors. Chichester is a rangy player with long arms, very active and kind of reminiscent of Jermaine Tate. Dews is quite a shooter, ballhandler and scorer. They each held their own as teammates.

* Columbus Brookhaven's Jamelle Cornley is working hard to establish himself as a wing player. He would be undersized to play inside in the Big Ten at 6-5 power forward. But some coaches have remarked they like his strength and work ethic. Marquette, in particular, may be interested. Dayton has offered.

* Canton McKinley junior Raymar Morgan, a 6-7 power forward, also worked in nicely against the big boys. Morgan could be a guy to watch as a Big Ten-caliber player a year from now.

* The news from the Reebok ABCD Camp in New Jersey was that Ohio sophomore O.J. Mayo was one of the top two players at that camp in today's morning session, along with Indiana 7-footer Greg Oden.

* It seemed likely that Xavier's two other assistants, Alan Major and John Groce, will join Matta in Columbus, although there has been no formal announcement. Major signed in at Nike Camp as an assistant for OSU. Matta was reportedly spotted at the Reebok ABCD Camp today in New Jersey.

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