Ohio's class of 2005 is led by wing forward Ben, B.J. Raymond. The 6'7 Toledo St. John star has game. He can go inside or out, he can shoot it- midrange and with range, he has handles, he rebounds, defends, and FINISHES.
He is clearly the best we have to offer in the class, yet all he wants to talk about is his teammates and their goal of winning a state championship. Raymond definitely does not have to act alone as senior, Mr. Basketball candidate, Brian Roberts, leads his team and 6'8 junior post player Zach Hielsland joins them.
With the exception of Cincinnati Moeller's Bubba Walther, Andrew Brackman, and Josh Duncan you'd be hard press to name a trio as impressive as St. John's. Raymond may be the key to take St. John over the top. "It's a privilege to have people rate me the number one junior in the state," says Raymond. "I've worked awfully hard to be a good player." Raymond spoke volumes about his work with teammate Brain Roberts. "We shoot at least 300 three's a day and work out at least 2 hours EVERYDAY," said Raymond, and all this without the gun. "You never get great passes like you get from the gun.
B-Rob and I throw bad passes to each other, so we learn to square up and hit the j quickly," says Raymond. "Our goal is to win it all and we know we've got a target on our back, but that's what we play for," noted the very perceptive youngster. Raymond is originally from Boston and credits his father with teaching him the game: "my dad was a dog back in his day. He was one of the top five big men in the state of Massachusetts, that's where I get the inside stuff and he's the reason I shoot it so well" said Raymond.
On the move to Ohio Raymond laughingly states; "we were supposed to be here a week to visit and I've been waiting since second grade for the visit to get over with." That visit may or may not end with his senior year as many in-state colleges are all over the talented wing forward. When asked about his college list, Raymond said he didn't have any order yet, but was being recruited by Dayton, Xavier, Michigan, Michigan State, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Ohio State,! Kent State, Boston College, Georgetown, Florida, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Oklahoma, UConn, Indiana, St. Louis, and Iowa.
He also notes that he "may have forgotten a few." I recently wrote in my scouting service report to over 50 major college coach's that Ben Raymond is an ‘absolute MUST recruit!" I discovered from talking to him that he was a student of the game and even better player than I'd originally thought. Don't be shocked to see Raymond's name in the mix for Mr. Basketball at the end of the year.