Raymond Felton: Ready For UNC
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Raymond Felton knew when he first started playing the game of basketball that it was going to be tough to get recognition. "Hey, I realized I was from a small town and played for a small school," Felton said of the town Latta, South Carolina. "But once I had a chance to show myself in the AAU tournaments, people found out."
And oh, did they find out that Felton was some tremendous talent at the point guard position. "I always had the confidence in my game," Felton said. "I knew I could be as good as any point guard."
He was. Felton said the turning point in making people in the college basketball world aware of his skills came two years ago in an AAU event. "I hung about 33 points on Daniel Ewing (now at Duke)," Felton said. "Once I did that people then took notice."
Even more noticed Felton at last year's Bob Gibbons Tournament. In a game played inside the Dean Dome, Felton squared off against a team that featured Duke recruits J.J. Redick and Shavlik Randolph.
Redick had an awesome game but it was Felton that ignited rare sustained cheers at an AAU event. In fact, it was darn loud inside the Dean Dome that day when Felton led a comeback and helped his team upset the Redick/Randolph-led team. Felton eventually signed with North Carolina. A preview of future matchups in the ACC?
"Sure, and that was a lot of fun," Felton said. "I can't wait to get to play again at the Dean Dome. It's going to be loud next year. I think with the recruits we have coming in we can win a lot of games. Hopefully Damion (Grant) and Byron (Sanders) can contribute and help us inside."
It may take some time before Grant and Sanders deliver some impact type of numbers. But it will only take the opening tip of next year's first game for North Carolina fans to realize that Raymond Felton will make an immediate impact for the Tar Heels. "I am looking forward to it," Felton said. "I want to be the best player I can be out there."
When asked if he would have liked to had an opportunity to play Duke's Jason Williams next year, Felton responded as he plays: "Jason Williams is a great player. But I wouldn't change my game for any player. I respect him. And I think he would respect me. I wouldn't change the way I play for anybody. I would just play my game and whatever happens...happens."