After two live evaluation periods in April, which allowed Gonzaga coaches the opportunity to evaluate key prospects in person, there seems to be a clear sense of what the staff has in mind for 2013. One position that seems to be a priority is a Combo Guard of the future, with Xavier Rathan-Mayes of CIA Bounce and Huntington Prep impressing the coaching staff enough to earn an offer.
Rathan-Mayes is a native of Toronto and plays his prep school ball in West Virginia at Huntington Prep. In order to get a better sense for his game and his recruitment, we had our recruiting correspondent catch up with Rob Fulford, the head coach at Huntington Prep.
TSSF: Over the past month, Xavier has really seemed to blow up with his play on the AAU circuit. For people who havent followed his game before, what are some of his biggest strengths on the court that make him sucha coveted prospect?
Coach Fulford: Xavier is picking up where he left off during the High School season. He had a great Jr. year at Huntington Prep and has really played well the first AAU events. He is a pure scorer and is one of those kids, that once he gets a rhythm going, not much you can do about it.
TSSF: Xavier is receiving interest from some great schools around the country, including Gonzaga. What type of system do you think he fits in best with at the next level?
Coach Fulford: In my opinion, Xavier needs to be somewhere that is up tempo and gives guards freedom to play. He will take some bad shots from time to time, but he makes bad shots more than he misses. The college will have to allow him to play his game.
TSSF: Like every great player, there are certainly some areas where Xavier can continue to improve. What parts of his game do you think need the biggest adjustments before he gets to the Division I level?
Coach Fulford: He already has a college ready body. He is a very strong player that usually can overpower other wings. As with any High School kid, he can always improve. He is continuing to work on tightening up his handles and really working on his body.
TSSF: When did Gonzaga begin to show interest in Xavier? Which coach has been the main recruiter from Gonzaga at this point?
Coach Fulford: Xavier first heard from Gonzaga after the EYBL in Minnesota. He had a really good weekend and received a ton of calls that following week. Donny Daniels is coach that called.
TSSF: What time of timeline does Xavier have on his recruitment? Is he looking to end his commitment soon or is the type of guy that will take official visits before committing?
Coach Fulford: He will take official visits before deciding. We encourage that, the limitations the NCAA puts on college coaches contacting players, the official visits are important to develop chemistry and relationships that can't be done on the phone. He has stated that he will more than likely sign in fall of next school year, after taking visits. I would anticipate him getting a manageable list of schools to about 10-12 by end of summer.