The Florida State Seminoles improved to 10-1 on the season after defeating the #21 ranked Florida Gators 83-78 Sunday evening. Canada’s own Xavier Rathan-Mayes finished the game with 7 points on 50% shooting from the field. His return to FSU for his junior year has had a positive impact on both him and the University after XRM had initially declared for the 2016 NBA Draft. Last summer, Xavier stated “I came to Florida State for a number of reasons, with the biggest one being the opportunity to become a complete basketball player under Coach Hamilton and the coaches. Entering the draft process and getting feedback from a number of people including Coach Hamilton has allowed me and my family to assess my career moving forward. As we closely reviewed the feedback we received, we felt it was in my best interest to continue my career at Florida State”.
This was a very mature decision by the 22 year old. Most young players are eager to go professional as soon as possible without considering the fact that extra years in college can potentially lead to more maturity both on and off the court. Xavier-Rathan Mayes clearly understands that excelling at the NBA level requires patience and ability to excel in multiple assets of the game. He can score without a doubt, however, teams need players who are reliable on both ends of the floor. Think about how many great scorers cannot stay at the NBA level because of their inability to defend and/or create plays for their teammates. XRM’s commitment to defence was evident on December 4th’s blowout win over George Wash when FSU used suffocating defence to force turnovers and limit George Wash’s offensive flow. Had XRM declared for the 2016 NBA draft, he would’ve likely been a late draft pick thus limiting his playing time and overall development. Depending on his performance for the rest of NCAA season, XRM could easily be a top pick in the 2017 draft.
Born in Markham Ontario, Xavier Rathan-Mayes moved to North Carolina where he began his high school playing days at Christian Faith Center Academy. He then transferred to Huntington Prep School in West Virginia where he played alongside current NBA rising star Andrew Wiggins. XRM shined at Huntington Prep, including a 55 point performance which had him top considered a top 30 player in his class. He also represented Team Canada in the U-18 & U-19 FIBA World Championships. XRM weighed several options and eventually committed to Florida State University where he shined in his freshmen season, averaging 14.9 points per game en route to making the All-ACC Freshman Team. The Miami Hurricanes will never forget when he almost single handedly led a comeback by dropping 30 points in 4 minutes of action:
Unfortunately, Xavier-Rathan Mayes saw a statistics decrease in his junior season. This is part of the reason he chose to return to college for another year. “I have never been more excited to get back to work and get ready for the upcoming season. With our returning players and our incoming class, we can all be a part of something special”. Xavier and his teammates are looking to lead FSU into the March Madness tournament for the first time since 2012.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes is talented in so many ways. Now only can he knock down shots from long range, he has the ability to cross over his opponents and create his own shot. His quickness with the ball also allows him to get in the paint and create higher percentage shots for both him and his teammates. His style has drawn comparisons to NBA players Lou Williams & Jamaal Crawford, two winners of the 6th Man of the Year award. XRM could be a spark plug off the bench for several teams in need of scoring depth. Of course the Minnesota Timberwolves could be a good fit, as they could use a scoring punch off the bench combined with the thought of a re-union between XRM and Andrew Wiggins.
Nothing comes easy and opportunities are never given, but are rather earned. Xavier Rathan-Mayes is proof that there continues to be a rising trend in Canadian talent for the sport of basketball. Catch XRM and the Seminoles in action this Saturday when they face Manhattan, live at 1:30 p.m. Eastern.