Rayford Young Returns to Lead Men's Basketball

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October 29, 1998

By Rachel Hagood - Texas Tech Media Relations - Rayford Young is ready to lead the Texas Tech men's basketball team into the 1998-99 season.

Young, a guard from Pampa, Texas, is returning for his third year on the Red Raider basketball team. As a starting point guard, Young will often have possession of the ball. Last season, Young was the second leading scorer, averaging 15.4 points a game, and had the team-high at 116 assists. He also tied for second in free throw percentage in the Big 12 with an 84.3 clip.

Young was the shortest player on the Texas Tech roster last year, standing at only 5 foot 11. Still, he averaged 3.7 rebounds a game and had 11 blocks, the third highest on the team. This season, he will be joined by 5 foot 11 newcomer Jevon Banks as the shortest man on the roster. However, being one of the smallest and most talented players on the court has earned Young national attention. In the preseason, he was recognized as one of the nation's best under 6-foot players by Athlon magazine. Young was also tabbed as a preseason all-conference player candidate.

In 1998-99, Young returns with senior Stan Bonewitz to lead the back court. With Young's speed and Bonewitz's three-point ability, the two returning starters will command respect from opposing teams.

Young is optimistic about the new year which sees the addition of six new players to the Red Raider roster. "There is a lot of talent of this team," he said. "We need to pull the team together and get the job done to be successful in the Big 12." With the loss of key players from last year's team, Young will be called to take on an expanded role as a team leader.

Head Coach James Dickey also shares the belief that Young must be a leader to the team. "As a senior, Rayford will be called on to help set the tone for the season," Dickey said. "We will look for him to create shots for both himself and teammates, as well as applying good defensive pressure."

To prepare for his senior year, Young has been doing the traditional running, shooting everyday. Perhaps the biggest opportunity to develop his game this summer was the chance to play with the Big 12 all-stars. The team traveled through Europe on a nine-day seven game-tour that went through England, Belgium, Germany and France.

Young was a 1996 graduate of Pampa High School. At Pampa, he led the team to the 4A state title. He finished his high school career as the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,295 points.




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