PG Derek Raivio

The story is far from done being written on rising point guard Derek Raivio, who has truly blown up on the national recruiting scene this spring. His list of schools is ever-expanding, and his biggest shows may be yet to come in July. Read on for all the latest on Derek, including what he wants in a school.

Derek Raivio (profile)
Mountain View (Vancouver, WA)
Ht: 6'1"  Wt: 150
Jr. stats: 23 ppg, 6 apg

There was a change in NCAA basketball recruiting this spring, which allowed coaches to see kids play at sanctioned events in April and visit them during a lengthy contact period.  This was a boon to college coaches in their recruiting efforts, which has helped to accelerate the recruiting of this entire junior (now rising senior) class, nationwide.  But the flip side of the coin is that this also increased exposure for a lot of kids, allowing some to blossom before coaches earlier than the normal July period.  One of the more striking examples of this exposure comes in the case of Belgian-born Derek Raivio, a previously unheralded point guard from Mountain View High School in Vancouver, Washington.  If the name of that school rings a bell, by the way, it is also the high school of incoming freshman monolith David Beall, a prized offensive line addition to the Stanford football program.

While Vancouver residents have been raving about Raivio, who has been running circles around opponents on the Mountain View varsity since his freshman year, college coaches haven't heard the din.  The Seattle and Portland areas continue to get all the hoops recruiting attention in the Northwest, and though Vancouver is just a stone's throw away from Portland across the state line, Derek Raivio remained undiscovered.

Enter the fortuitous April period just recently, which allowed Derek to showcase his talents in front of national coaching audiences with his AAU team, the Portland Legends.  At the Kingwood Classic in Houston, he delivered and dazzled coaches and recruiting gurus alike.  In a flash, Derek's recruitment 'blew up' into a nationwide affair.

Prior to the Houston event, Derek had middling interest from programs and one offer from local Portland, where his father Rick played his college ball.  Since the event, Derek has added offers from New Mexico, Texas and Gonzaga.  Recruiting interest has picked up with serious and more in-depth inquiries from Stanford, Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, UConn and Iowa State.  How has he reacted to that meteoric rise in his stock?

"It hasn't been too bad.  I'm really trying to just stay down to earth about it all"

Derek just earned the #8 spot in the new PrepWestHoops point guard ratings on the West Coast, and frankly is poised to rise higher both regionally and nationally in July.  Derek catapulted from obscurity to the limelight with just the one event, and with more eyes open to him in July, Derek will be ready to convert remaining doubters.

Derek said that he saw Coach Tony Fuller watching him in Houston, and that the Stanford staff has been talking with his high school coach.  He has received quite a bit of mail from Stanford, extolling the virtues of its elite academic and basketball status.

Now you want to know just where Stanford stands with Derek Raivio, right?  Well, Derek isn't giving anything up at this point, and maintains ardently that his recruitment is completely wide open at this time.  Stanford is a school he is seriously considering, but Derek won't name it or any others as favorites.  The only sign of favoritism in the Raivio household may come in the form of Derek's parents, who unsurprisingly are rooting for Stanford.  Nevertheless, both Derek and his parents maintain that this is Derek's decision to make.

The primary reason why you aren't seeing favorites emerge for Derek, in contrast to the recruitments coming to a head for others like David Padgett, is simply that the whole process is brand new.  So many of the other kids visible on recruiting radars today have been there since last summer or at least their junior high school season last winter.  Schools made selections of who to press with their interest, and the kids have received that interest and information over that time.  They now have much of the information for them to start narrowing things down and even make final verbal commitments.

But Derek has publicly bloomed later in the game, and understandably that means he is a more nascent stage of information gathering.  Additionally, Derek has a heavy slate in July of individual and team events, including the Oregon team camp, Nike Camp in Indianapolis, Nike Peach Jam in Georgia, Mullen event in KC, Adidas Big Time in Vegas, and the Best of Summer in Los Angeles.  Whew!  Only when Derek returns from that whirlwind tour will he sit down with his parents to size up his list of schools and start to process them.  So frankly, this is a recruitment that will likely not mature toward a final list and decision until the end of summer, at the earliest.

The great news for Stanford is that any recruit who has a longer timeframe has the chance to carefully fill out an admissions application and get a decision before other schools can pressure a decision.  Derek has the application in hand currently, and should easily have the time to get that to Old Union before his recruitment nears its final stages.  Derek has maintained a strong 3.7 GPA and is still awaiting word on his June SAT.  His essays are also far along, in the final revision phase.

When Derek and his parents do sit down to look at schools, Derek has a good idea what he wants in a school.

"Style of play - a team that gets out and runs.  I'd like an up-tempo offense that lets their guards play.  I'd also like a program that doesn't take out players right after they make a bad play; I want the chance to play through some mistakes.  Coaches - I'd like coaches who treat their players well.  Tradition - I'd like a place with a history of point guards.  Type of school - whether it's big or small and what it has for my major.  It's hard to say other than just the feel of the school."

Derek also said that location is a non-factor for him.  You should take his national list of schools at face value.  It is also noteworthy that Derek does not explicitly list academics as a primary concern in his decision - this looks to be predominately basketball decision for him.

I have yet to see Derek play, but reports I have heard say that he is an extremely quick player with an excellent handle who can both shoot and direct his team.  His frame is strikingly thin at this time, but Derek is still trying to catch up with a lot of late growth.  His father Rick was a late bloomer who grew eight inches in less than a year, and Derek similarly sprouted five inches from his sophomore to junior year.  Rick topped off at 6'5", so it is expected that Derek may not yet be done.  He told me that he currently stands at 6'2" in his shoes, with "maybe a couple inches" still ahead of him.

To help work on that frame, Derek is hitting the weights this summer.  He'll be adding some meat and strength, but also looking to further increase his quickness.

Looking ahead to Derek's senior year, he has visions of big things for his Mountain View team.

"I want to take my team to state, then put them on my back and win it."

Derek just might do that, and keep surprising us all.

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