On Tuesday afternoon, 5-foot-11 point guard Rashad Ray from New Orleans (La.) O. Perry Walker told InsideTulsaSports.com that he recently signed scholarship papers with Tulsa. The 2012 prospect will begin taking classes at TU this summer.
"I signed with Tulsa yesterday," he explained. "I figure it was a great fit. They have a new coaching staff, and I think we both can build up a better program. They made me feel like they were coaches I already knew."
Ray visited the Tulsa campus on the weekend of May 12 and said the trip "went good." He chose the Golden Hurricane over offers from UTEP, Louisiana Tech, Tulane, Appalachian State, Arkansas-Little Rock and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He also had serious interest from Southern Miss.
Ray led O. Perry Walker to a 21-10 record in his senior season, averaging 18.5 points, seven assists and three steals per game. He was named first-team All-State, All Metro and All-District 9-4A, and he labels his strengths as "defense, finishing and mid-range game."
In January, Ray was the WGNO Player of the Week after scoring 44 points in three games to earn All-Tournament team honors in the All-State Sugar Bowl Prep Classic. Of his 44 points, 19 came against Riverside Academy in the semi-final round, which included an off-balance buzzer-beater 3-pointer to give the Chargers the victory and a spot in the championship game.
"We're extremely excited to welcome Rashad to the TU basketball family," said Tulsa head coach Danny Manning. "Rashad is someone we began recruiting once we arrived in Tulsa and are very fortunate to get a young man of his caliber at this point in the recruiting game. Rashad is an energetic and active point guard. He's very athletic and is greatly engaged as to what is happening around him on the court. The only thing that he cares about is his team doing well and winning, and he knows that the point guard initiates those actions.
"Rashad is a quality young man, drummer in his church choir and just a good, good kid that comes from a great family."
Ray's AAU coach, Cleavon Williams, echoed Manning's sentiments.
"Rashad is a well-groomed student-athlete who takes his books very seriously," said Williams. "On the court, he's a very hard-nosed player and is very coachable. From a defensive standpoint, he plays 94 feet and is an in-your-face defender. On offense, he's a really quick, athletic point guard. He can shoot the three ball really well. He's a high-flyer and a finisher. He'll go to the hole.
"Rashad is a proven leader on and off the court. He loves to direct his teammates. He's a natural-born leader and is very in-tune into winning. He has a passion to be the best."
Due to recent transfers, Tulsa definitely had a need at the point guard position, and Rashad Ray hopes to come in and compete for time right away.
"We didn't really talk about it, but I'm going in to work and try to play as a true freshman," he added.
Ray joins four other newcomers in Tulsa's 2012 recruiting class.