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May 9, 2012
Former NC State freshman shooting guard Jaqawn Raymond has landed at Middle Tennessee State University.
Raymond will be a footnote in NC State basketball history as the last recruit to commit to former head coach Sidney Lowe. Assistant coach Larry Harris spotted him during the 2010 July evaluation period and eventually landed the streak shooter for the Wolfpack. He'll look back fondly on his one year in Raleigh.
"NC State has a great fan base and I had the chance to meet some wonderful players and coaches," Raymond said. "The fans supported me no matter what. I'm always going to love this school and the fans from the bottom of my heart.
"I'm going to come back and watch some of the games and I'm hoping for the best for them, and that they go far in the tournament next year."
Raymond played sparingly last year, appearing in just 11 games and scoring a total of nine points, making 3 of 10 three pointers.
"I just felt like there wasn't enough minutes to go around with all the guards," Raymond said. "Everything else was good. Coach [Mark] Gottfried wished me the best and that's about it."
Raymond, who will have three years of eligibility remaining with the Blue Raiders, had several connections to the school.
NC State assistant coach Rob Moxley worked under head coach Kermit Davis prior to joining the Wolfpack a year ago. Former NCSU assistant coach and standout point guard Monte Towe ended up replacing Moxley.
"It helped a little bit," Raymond said. "Coach Towe helped recruit me here, so I figured I could follow him again since he left. I was going to go where he was going.
"Coach Moxley said I'd fit in good there. He said to take my time and choose the right school for you. Don't rush into anything."
Raymond is the fourth Georgia native to join the Middle Tennessee State program. The former Statesboro (Ga.) High product averaged 21.3 points per game his senior year, and he also was part of the Georgia Stars traveling team program. Having the chance to play with three of his friends from Georgia was a big draw for the Blue Raiders.
Middle Tennessee State went 27-7 overall and 14-2 in the Sun Belt Conference, and return all but power forward LaRon Dendy from the starting lineup. Rising senior starters Raymond Cintron, Marcos Knight and Bruce Massey — all guards — and center JT Sulton, will have leftover business after getting upset by Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Conference tournament, which led to a spot in the NIT. The Blue Raiders knocked off Marshall and won at Tennessee, before falling 78-72 to Minnesota.
"Coach Davis is a good coach and has brought the program a long way. I knew they were successful.
"I knew some of the guys after playing against them in high school. It's a nice campus and I fit in well there."
Raymond will sit out the upcoming season and prepare to replace the void left from the three senior guards graduating.
"I think it will be for the best and will make me a better player," Raymond said. "I want to work on all the parts of my game. I want to be a complete player."
Raymond originally picked NC State over offers from Mercer and Jacksonville, and interest from Furman, College of Charleston and Clemson. Some of the same schools contacted him following his release from the Wolfpack.
"A couple of other schools reached out," Raymond said. "Tennessee Tech, South Carolina, Furman, Mercer, Chipola Junior College and some other smaller schools."
Raymond will head home this Sunday, return to Raleigh to close out May to move his stuff out, and then will start summer school at MTSU in July.
"I'm excited and they just got a surprise coming to them," Raymond said.
Raymond knows he's a better player after attending NC State for a year. He'll also have a good support system in the future from his former teammates. Senior wing C.J. Williams offered his support and friendship throughout his time on campus.
"I learned how to never take anything for granted and to work hard for everything," Raymond said. "I know C.J. will always be there for me no matter what."
Raymond is one of three players to transfer from NC State this offseason. Backup post player DeShawn Painter is headed to Old Dominion for his senior year, while freshman small forward Tyler Harris is also looking for a new home after leaving NC State on May 2.
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