There was little doubt Braylon Rayson had potential to do great things coming into the 2013-14 men’s basketball season.
The Dallas native was a McDonald’s All-American nominee and earned All-State honors during his senior season at West Mesquite high school.
After a 30-point effort in Wednesday’s triple-overtime win against Ball State, Rayson showed fans a glimpse into a potentially bright future.
“He is a scorer and has confidence,” said head coach Keno Davis. “We have confidence in him because he continues to develop his game and understand more of the intricacies of how to be able to score and how to be able to defend. He’s going to be one of those guys that you look at night-in and night-out on the stat sheet and he is filling it up.”
Rayson didn’t make his first start for Central Michigan until Jan. 15 against Bowling Green and was averaging 9.7 points per game leading up to Wednesday’s contest, but that didn’t stop his teammates from pumping him up.
“Chris (Fowler) was telling me about the other guard on (BSU), the freshman, and he told me to go at him tonight,” Rayson said. “I competed with him and we ended up getting the win.”
Rayson started the game by shooting 3-of-4 from the floor and leading the Chippewas with nine points. At one point during the opening half, the freshman was subbed off and taken to the locker room to receive treatment. It was later revealed he suffered a dislocated finger.
“It bothered me and I needed to take some pain pills, but my adrenaline was pumping and I know my team needed the win despite the pain,” Rayson said.
He played through the pain and was rewarded with eight second-half points. In the third overtime, Rayson really shined. The guard scored 11-straight points, which turned a tie game into a 96-89 lead.
“He closed the game for us,” Fowler said. “He took the ball in his hands and he took the shots we needed him to take.”
Even though he was injured, Rayson kept his energy high, which impressed his coach.
“Each overtime that came, the attitude was great, but we saw guys didn’t have as much left,” Davis said in his postgame press conference. “Now, Braylon Rayson did. He’s one of those players who could play another game right now. He’s got that kind of energy.”
Rayson’s energy is not his key attribute, Davis added.
“If you talk about confidence on this team, you would have to start with Braylon Rayson before anybody,” Davis said. “He is incredibly confident in his ability, that he can score at any time, on anyone. We need to make sure his field goal percentage stays up and he realizes what his strong suit is; being able to score.”