Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton has shown he can connect with top recruits and bring top-level talent to Tallahassee. And the commitment of ESPN 100 guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes (Scarborough, Ont./Huntington) to the Seminoles on Saturday night is further proof of that.
"I had a great relationship with coach Ham,” Rathan-Mayes said. "He made me feel like I was an important part of the future of FSU basketball.
“Coach Ham wants me to come in next year and impact in the scoring department and that what I do best right now."
Yes, he does. With range and accuracy all the way out to NBA distance, Rathan-Mayes has such a diverse offensive game.
When you watch him play, you see an under-control and confident scorer from deep. He’s also displayed quite frequently the all-important middle game. When he is not making shots, you can find him driving and finishing at the rim and he will also cut to the block and post up. His skills allow him to score from many different spots on the floor, and he understands there is more than one way to get baskets.
When the game gets close, you can always find Rathan-Mayes looking to embrace the moment and take the big shot.
He’s especially dangerous off ball screens, showing he can either shoot with ease behind the screen or find a rolling big man on his way to the basket. In fact, he’s a better passer than most people actually know about because he is asked to score so much.
Over time, look for Rathan-Mayes to work on his point guard play -- because he possesses a good knowledge of the game, he will be able to run a team.
“I want to work on becoming more of a point guard,” he said. “Run a team and still score the ball. With Coach Ham coaching, I believe that could happen.”
There is a delicate balance to converting a scoring guard to a point guard. FSU has done a good job with current point guard Ian Miller by taking his scoring skills and shaping him into a lead guard.
Under the leadership of Hamilton, FSU has done a great job in identifying and going after the players who best fit Hamilton's defensive-minded philosophy. He loves size and length and then teaches those players how to best use their physical tools.
Rathan-Mayes plays his summer basketball for CIA Bounce out of Toronto. Mike George, the co-director of CIA Bounce, thinks FSU is getting a game-changer.
"He is a kid that's a gym rat and loves to work on his craft,” George said. “Not afraid to take the big shots and is a game-changer with a high basketball IQ"
FSU is not only getting one of the top players in the nation, it is getting a hard worker with NBA potential.