Rayjon Tucker

FGCU lands commitment from three-star small forward

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With guards Brett Comer, Bernard Thompson and Jamail Jones all entering their senior seasons, FGCU head coach Joe Dooley has some areas to address when it comes to ensuring that the Eagles remain atop the Atlantic Sun standings. Wednesday afternoon the program took a significant step in that direction on the recruiting trail, as three-star small forward Rayjon Tucker announced that he has verbally committed to attend FGCU.

The 6-foot-5 Tucker, a native of North Charlotte, North Carolina, is a very talented athlete who decided during his sophomore year of high school to give up football in order to concentrate on basketball. His ability to get to the basket off the dribble and finish above the rim are two attributes that have served Tucker well to this point in his young career.

Tucker attends Northstar Christian Academy and during the summer he played for a Team Charlotte AAU program, posting averages of 15.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game on the Under Armour Association circuit.

Terrell will be in a position where he can help Dooley’s Eagles as a freshman, due in large part to the eventual departure of the three seniors mentioned above. FGCU’s leading returnee from last season who would have eligibility remaining in 2015-16: Armand Shoon, who played in 17 games and averaged just 3.5 minutes per game.

The Eagles added some talented newcomers this season, with UNLV transfer Demetris Morant and freshman Christian Terrell among those players (Rice transfer Julian DeBose will be eligible, as well). Adding Terrell, FGCU’s first commitment in the 2015 class, will certainly help matters moving forward. And for a program that two years ago earned the nickname “Dunk City” from former CBT contributor Troy Machir, Tucker is more than capable of helping FGCU retain that label in the years to come.

Mixtape for Rayjon Tucker, one of 2015’s best athletes (VIDEO)

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Rayjon Tucker is one of my favorite players in the Class of 2015.

He’s not a superstar prospect — he’s currently ranked No. 117 in the class by Rivals — but there are few that play harder than he does. Oh, and should I mention that the former football player also happens to be one of the strongest, most explosive athletes in the class?

Check it out:

Rayjon Tucker excelling after giving up football for hoops

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Kelly Kline/Under Armor

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Rayjon Tucker spent the spring making a name for himself in recruiting circles. The biggest reason why is his athleticism. A 6-foot-5 wing, Tucker has the kind of strength and explosiveness that allows him to finish above the rim, over defenders, through contact and … well, all of the above, which also has made Tucker a favorite of the mixtape cameramen.

Earlier this spring, before his play in the UA Association AAU tournaments, Tucker was listing offers from schools like Abilene Christian and Presbyterian. This week? He had to postpone an unofficial visit to UNC because he was making a trip to the NBPA Top 100 Camp.

So would you believe that Tucker, a member of the Class of 2015, has only been playing basketball seriously for two years?

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“I didn’t start concentrating on basketball until my sophomore year,” said Tucker, a former wide receiver and free safety whose father played football at Western Carolina. “I played, but I was more focused on football than basketball so if I wasn’t doing something right, I wasn’t worried.”

That changed after his freshman season, however, as Tucker got tired of the physicality on the gridiron.

“I just got tired of all the pounding on my body,” he said. “I just really love basketball in my heart more than I love football. My dad was a football player, so it would have just fit. I just like the hardwood.”

“My dad was fine with it, he always told me he supported me in whatever I do, it’s my life and my decision. He didn’t want to live his dreams through me.”

That meant Rayjon would be chasing his hardwood dreams, and after a successful spring, he’s gone from a relative unknown prospect from Charlotte, N.C., to a guy that is going to have a chance to play in the ACC. Boston College has offered him a scholarship, as has Virginia Tech; Tucker said that Buzz Williams has been recruiting him the hardest of late. He’s visited Clemson but doesn’t yet have an offer on the table from the Tigers, and in addition to trying to set up a visit with UNC he is also talking with N.C. State to get over to Raleigh and see their campus. Tucker also said that VCU has been showing him quite a bit of interest.

RELATED: Rayjon Tucker is a name to remember

“It’s exciting,” he said, and while no one would blame a high school junior for being excited about getting phone calls from coaches at the biggest schools in his home state, Tucker is self-aware enough to understand that he still has strengths and weaknesses on the court. He realizes that his strengths like in his natural athletic ability. He can jump, he can defend, he plays hard, he’s a terror around the rim.

But he’s not satisfied simply being a guy that is featured in highlight videos on youtube.

“I’m always looking improvement in my game, dribbling and shooting. I’m just looking to get better,” he said. “MY parents and my coach just tell me to stay humble. Stay hungry, because I haven’t arrived yet.”

“I just gotta keep working.”