Saturday, April 4, 2009

Would Raymond Higgs Consider a Basketball Scholarship?

Higgs is a 6' 3" shooting guard who was named "First Team All-State" for his school's classification (Single A). The kid can jump 7' 7". He played at Sagemont Academy, the same school that Drazen Zlovaric attended for a while. Since Sagemont did not have a track team, Higgs looked for another school, and he is now a senior at Athens Christian.

Sounds like a perfect first signee for new coach, Mark Fox.

Because Higgs is from the Bahamas and has moved around a lot since coming to the U.S., he has flown under the radar screen somewhat. Contributing to his relatively unknown status is the fact that it's hard for Higgs to decide which sport to play.

Known primarily for track, Higgs managed to pick up on the American sport of football. Back in the track and field environment after basketball season ended, Higgs has continued to show his amazing athleticism. In a recent track meet, Higgs won the high jump, long jump and triple jump in the individual events, and was a member of the winning 400 meter and 1600 meter relay teams.

As impressive as Higgs is in the other sports, he was just as good in basketball. Higgs averaged 26 points per game, to go with 6 steals per outing. In fact, the Athens Christian coach stated that Higgs could score 60 if he as the coach kept Higgs in the game and made him the focus of the team.

If Georgia can ink Higgs, it sounds like we would get a fast, explosive leaper and lockdown defender. Put him with Dustin Ware and Travis Leslie on the break, and things could be a lot of fun.

One problem: Higgs is reportedly leaning toward Arkansas, because of their track program.

Mr. Higgs: Come to UGA. Get hooked up with the track program, which is up and coming, as I remember. In any case, play whichever sport you like, as long as you include enough time to help out the UGA basketball squad. Athens is home for you, and your friends and family can continue to watch you play.



Bop said...

It's going to be extremely hard to get him away from Arkansas track. For some reason the Georgia track coaches aren't doing whatever it takes to get him. He's in their backyard and yet they seem to concede him to Arkansas. No wonder we finished tied for 53rd in the NCAA indoors. Pathetic.

Their is a couple track kids at UGA that went to ACS, but one of the Arkansas assistants is a UGA and ACS grad. Everything I've heard says that Arkansas is all over him. Plus, for some reason the people at ACS aren't pushing him to stay in town.

Now, what I have heard, is the reason he hasn't signed for track yet is he is holding out to see what hoops offers come. Yes, he is an amazing athlete (he'll probably be in the next olympics) but I'm not sure he is quite skilled enough to make a splash in basketball at SEC level. Athletically, yes. Skill level, no.

I want him at UGA bad, because he will win an NCAA title in the high jump and possibly compete for one in the long jump. I just am afraid that Coach Wayne Norton and company over at UGA are gonna drop the ball on this kid.

DaugMan said...

Good to hear from you, as always.

I appreciate your insight into the Higgs recruitment. I am not as familiar with UGA track as I should be, but it seems intuitive to me that a local kid who can leap over 7 feet in high school should have the coaching staff's full attention.

As for the basketball side of the equation, I think the guy deserves a look. Coach Fox is said to be someone who is adept at developing players, and if you have a guy with the athleticism of Higgs, there's a lot to work with.

What do you think about David Mann? I understand that he is the ACS point guard, is a junior, and came to the U.S. from Germany. I have no idea whether he could be a fit, and he is probably undersized, but I am uncomfortable with Dustin Ware being our only point guard.

Bop said...

Boy, I butchered some of that

I'm with you on Higgs getting a look. I'd love us to get him in track and give him a spot to try out in hoops too, just to see if Fox could develop him. He has a lot of Travis Leslie in his game, that's for sure.

Again, the track coaches at UGA are not on him enough. I called over there last fall and they kind of blew it off as someone they will probably lose to Arkansas. Really bothered me. He could be gotten, I know that, I'm just not seeing how he is being made enough of a priority. And again, ACS isn't really trying to get him to go to UGA either which pisses me off. He's a no brainer full ride in track. He'd single handedly score more points than the whole UGA team did at the NCAA indoors this year.

I'm sure you know his basketball coach at ACS is Ron Link, the former coach of Louis Williams and Mike Mercer at South Gwinnett. Link was quoted earlier as saying that Higgs is the most talented guard he's ever coached. Sounds like he was just promoting his program a little, but still, those are big words from a coach of Link's stature. Another thing to note on Higgs is that he was on the U16 Bahama National basketball team also.

Mann is a exchange student and will be back over in Germany next year from what I hear. He's more of a Kennesaw State level player imo. Although, I will say that my background is football and baseball, so take what I say on basketball players with a grain of salt.

The 6'5" freshman Lillie on that ACS final 4 team is really another one to watch over the next couple of years too. Could grow into a high-major player.

DaugMan said...


What am I missing here? I'm not familiar with Athens Christian and their athletic program. But if we have a guy like Higgs in our own backyard, somebody from the track program ought to be all over it.

Track and field is all about the metrics. Doesn't matter if you're Single A or not. The issue is whether you can run fast or jump high, and the measure is the stopwatch or tale of the tape. 7 feet is 7 feet.

You put a guy like Higgs with Torrin Lawrence, the freshman runner UGA has, and you can build some momentum and excitement. Besides that, Higgs might even open up the Bahamas to UGA recruitment.

And if Higgs wants to play hoops and is waiting for an offer, I say give him one. I agree with you about the endorsement from Coach Link. If he says that Higgs is more talented than Louis Williams, then that's enough for me.

Even if Higgs is in the top three or four of the guys Link has coached, then we can use him. Let's call the coach, get some tape and make a reasoned decision. Who knows, Higgs might accept a track scholarship from Georgia if it is agreed in advance that he will be allowed to compete in both sports.

Brian said...

UGA has a long history of ignoring or under-recruiting local athletes -- they kind of expect them to just show up. It's almost like if they are around Athens, they ignore them and expect them to come any way. Jordan Scott went to Kansas and is one of the best pole vaulters in the nation.

Same with many, many, many others all the way back to the early 1990s. I was a state champion in 1993, and didn't get a letter from UGA until May of my senior year. I wasn't a world beater, but could have contributed.

Georgia's weak track program hurts its football program as well -- there are a lot of interesting stories about how Florida's football team works closely with the track team to build speed.

Higgs is a great example of someone we should totally have the advantage on.