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May 4, 2012

USF making push for touted guard

There have been few hotter USF targets on the spring circuit than CIA Bounce's Xavier Rathan-Mayes. The combo guard, rated a four-star and the No. 66 prospect in the country for the 2013 class, has helped lead his AAU squad to an unblemished 9-0 start on the Nike EYBL (Elite Youth Basketball League) while shooting 40.6% from beyond the arc.

"My coach allows me to shoot the ball at a high rate," Rathan-Mayes said. "As long as I'm making them, he's happy with it."

Rathan-Mayes has an impressive list of offers, including USF, Arizona, UConn, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Marquette, Memphis, Minnesota, NC State, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, USC, Washington, Kansas, Baylor, Alabama, LSU, UCLA, Gonzaga, LaSalle, Arizona State, Florida State, UAB, SMU and Washington State.

Several of Rathan-Mayes' offers have come in the past two weekends during the evaluation period when Division I coaches were able watch AAU games. His already lengthy list of offers will likely have some new additions in the coming months.

"I'll probably narrow down my list after the summer is done and the whole AAU thing is done with," Rathan-Mayes said. "I don't know to how many yet, but I know I will cut it down to something more manageable."

While Rathan-Mayes may not know exactly when he'll cut his list or how many schools he'll cut his list down to, he does know what he's looking for in a program.

"I want to be able to get up and down. I want sets but, the coach allows us to play and allows us to make plays," he said. "I'm also looking for a great coaching staff that is going to push me to be a better player each and every day and get me to that next level, which is the NBA, my ultimate goal. I'm also looking for great facilities and a great fan base. All that is going to impact me in my decision."

The Scarborough, Ontario native attends Huntington Prep (WV) and says a school's location is not going to be an issue in his recruitment.

"I've been away from home so long that being anywhere doesn't matter too much to me," he said. "As long as the school is right, the situation and the coaches and it's a good fit for me, I'm all about being as far away as need be to get that right opportunity to take me to the next level."

So where do the Bulls stand on his priority list?

"They're definitely right up there," Rathan-Mayes said. "I talked to coach (Stan) Heath last week. He thinks I'm the perfect fit for what they do and the systems they run. He and coach Hip said they're going to be on me until that time comes when I make that decision.

"Coach Hip (USF assistant coach Andy Hipsher) and I have been talking throughout the course of the year," Rathan-Mayes said. "He talked on the phone recently to my mom as well. He's starting to develop a good relationship with me as well as my mom. I think that's really important to build a relationship with my mom because she's one of the people that is going to help me make my decision. Hopefully I can get down there this summer and visit the campus and see their facilities."

Rathan-Mayes said a big reason his recruitment is blowing up nationally is his improved consistency in his all-around game.

"I've become more explosive, I can pass the ball better and I score at a higher rate," he said. "I've just been getting better in each aspect of my game. If I could play my old self one-on-one, I'd kill the old version."

Rivals.com National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Eric Bossi recently wrote that "one would be hard-pressed to find a more classic jump-shooter in the class of 2013 than Xavier Rathan-Mayes. The burly 6-foot-3 shooter from Huntington (W.V.) Prep simply doesn't miss when given open looks. Even if you put a hand in his face, he's still going to bury them."



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