Freshman point guard shines on varsity level

Marc Raye Jr. led the Albemarle Bulldogs in scoring and assists as a freshman this past season.

Freshman point guard shines on varsity level
March 21
02:35 2019

For a freshman player to bypass the freshman and junior varsity levels and go straight to varsity says a lot about their talent. For a freshman to lead the team in scoring and assists is something that is rarely seen. That is exactly what Marc Raye Jr. did for Albemarle High School this past season.

Raye Jr. is a Winston-Salem native, but his father Marc Sr. is the head coach at Albemarle. Raye Jr. was not anticipating making the varsity squad, but was excited about the impact he could have on the team. Just making the varsity team was not enough; he wanted to let everyone know he belonged. At 5 feet 7 inches, Raye Jr. “does not look the part,” as his father says, but definitely plays bigger than his height.

“My freshman year was good, but I think I could have done better,” Raye Jr. said. “I am thankful for the opportunity that was given to me. I was happy to make the varsity team and I didn’t want to get cocky, so I knew I had to stay grounded.

“My expectations coming in was to average 10 points per game, but I wasn’t expecting to have the season that I wound up having.”

Raye Jr. says there were nerves involved when he started the season on varsity. To help settle himself down, he spoke with the upperclassmen on the team. By season’s end, he was averaging 18 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals and was chosen as a player on the All-Conference team.

“At the beginning of the season I was nervous, because it was a big step for me,” he said. “As the season progressed, I began to calm down more and become more comfortable with my teammates.”

As his father and head coach, Raye Sr. told Raye Jr. that there is no guarantee that he would make the varsity team. 

“I told him going into the season that I did not know if he was going to play varsity,” said Raye Sr.  “I wanted him to know that if he earned it, he could play varsity, but I did not want him to think that just because I am the varsity coach, he was going to play varsity.”

Raye Jr. came off the bench to start his first varsity campaign. He got his chance to start during the Christmas tournament the team was playing in due to a shortage of players. Once he entered the starting lineup, he seized the opportunity and never let go.

“The expectations for the year were not what they wound up being,” Raye Sr. continued.  “The plan was to just gain experience and enjoy the season, but he played like a veteran as a freshman and gained a lot of respect from our veteran players. It was just a phenomenal season for him and I am extremely happy for him.”

Raye Jr. does not just rely on his talent to excel on the court. He is an admitted “gym rat” and routinely watches film after every game to see what he did well and what he needs to work on going forward.

Throughout the years of being around his father coaching other players, several young men have played an important role in the development of Raye Jr.’s game such as CJ Harris, Mike Grace, Chad Hicks and Tre Irvin, just to name a few. Raye Jr. also gave a lot of credit for the development of his game to his AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) Team, Team Winston, and coaches Ron Bailey and Andre Gould.

Having his father on the sidelines allowed him to be more comfortable on the court, Raye Jr. said.  He feels it was “a blessing” to have his father as coach, because several players have told him they would love to have their father coach them.

Raye Sr. said he and his wife are just as hard on Raye Jr. about his academics as they are his athletics. He says they have an “academic plan” as well as a plan for him on the court. 

Moving forward, Raye Jr. wants to continue working on his game to make himself and his teammates better.  He says he knows he will not surprise anyone next season, so he will work as hard as he can to get better at the things he was not efficient at this year.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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