The 2018-19 St. Raymond’s ravens are one of the youngest teams in the CHSAA, they definitely have some players that are ready to make the jump into bigger roles this season. The ravens used summer tournaments and the preseason to prepare for the upcoming season and at times the ravens looked dangerous where at other times we easily seen that the team has a lot of growing up to do.
One new addition to this year’s Ravens squad is Malachi Smith a 5-10 sophomore guard who made a huge leap to the varsity team after leading the freshman team to an undefeated season and city championship. One of many games where he proved that he was ready for varsity is the Dyckman Basketball 19U championship game. Smith Shined in that game against Team Skull gang which featured high major division 1 players, some of them who are older than him and some of his teammates. Smith making the jump to varsity from the Freshman team is something you don’t hear often but if you see how well he has played at times throughout the preseason, i’t s a sure thing that he fits in very well. Tahron Allen a 6-4 shooting guard got minutes a freshman last year but he is another sophomore to look out for on this St. Raymond’s squad.
Two players on this St Raymond’s team that will definitely make an impact are juniors Louis Kortright and Gary Grant. Kortright a 6-4 athletic guard from the Lower East Side is a great competitor that can score, pass and jump out of the gym. Grant at 6-6 is one of the most versatile players at his size. Giving his ability to handle the ball and score from outside the paint he will create many matchup problems for opposing front courts on a nightly basis. A year after playing behind Dallas Watson and Darius Lee, Grant will take on a bigger role in 2018-19. Jalen Reneau one of three seniors on this team will continue to lead the way at the point guard position. Reneau is a very good on-ball defender and in a league where the ravens will be playing top guards night in and out, Reneau’s defense and leadership will be needed .
Key Games to Watch:
12/15/18 vs Wings Academy @ The City Legendz Classic
St. Rays will be hosting this year’s City Legendz classic and they will face Wings academy in a PSAL vs CHSAA battle. Both teams are guard and wing heavy but a key matchup in this game we will like to see is one between Gary Grant and Wings Academy senior Tommy Thomas.
12/16/18 vs Brooklyn Collegiate
The Ravens will have a test when they go up against one of the top teams in the PSAL Brooklyn AA division in Brooklyn Collegiate. One potential matchup to look out for will be in the backcourt.
12/21/18 vs Archbishop Stepinac at The Slam Dunk challenge
The Ravens will get a chance to play defending city and state federation champion Archbishop Stepinac Crusaders. this will be the 1st of two meetings between the two teams.
1/04/19 vs Cardinal Hayes
The Ravens will start off 2019 with their second meeting of the season against rival Cardinal Hayes. This game will be a sell out so if you are in the area and need a ticket, start planning asap.
Outlook for 2018-19
Throughout the preseason this St. Raymond’s squad has proven they can compete with just about anyone despite being a young team and not having a lot of size but those are no excuses. The Ravens will make it back to the city playoffs but this seeding will depend on how well they do during the season and in the archdiocesan tournament. The 2018-19 archdiocesan tournament will be key because in the past two seasons the Ravens haven’t been able to get out of the quarterfinal round. If the ravens can do that they can most likely find themselves in a great position to go further in the playoffs. Regardless of how far they go this season one thing we know for sure is that the future is bright with their sophomore and junior class.