Raven James (’16) might go down in history as a basketball phenomenon if she continues to work hard on the court and in the classroom. James first started getting contacted by college coaches when she was in the sixth grade. By seventh grade, she held a scholarship offer from Clemson University. At the age of 15 as an eighth grader, she was playing both junior varsity and varsity basketball at Bullis while playing in the 17-and-under division on her travel team.
With so much talent at the age of 15, it would be easy for anyone to become bigheaded. James could have transferred to the national powerhouse WCAC conference as a freshman, but she decided to stay at Bullis.
“I chose Bullis because of the people, and it seemed like a great fit, the environment was nice, and on top of that, they have a great academic program,” said James.
“In the summer [the recruiting process] can be a little overwhelming with all the calls and letters, but I think it’s also fun and pushes me to work harder as well.”
James’ humble approach to the recruiting process speaks volumes about her character. Being recruited by major Division I colleges is an honor and a privilege that can be easily taken away.
“I get through the recruiting process by staying focused on school and basketball,” she said.
Working on her game under the guidance of one of the winningest coaches in the history of girls high school basketball does not hurt her development, either.
When Coach Rod Hairston got the job at Bullis, a lot of people wondered if he could leave the same mark at Bullis as he left at Eleanor Roosevelt and Bishop McNamara. Hairston led the Eleanor Roosevelt girls basketball team to five consecutive Maryland 4A state championships and enjoyed similar success at McNamara.
With James and other talented players in the fold, he certainly has an opportunity to bring his winning ways to Bullis. Last year, the girls varsity basketball team lost twice in their division, both times to Georgetown Visitation. Georgetown Visitation has won six consecutive ISL II titles. To beat them for the title would be a historic win for Bullis.
In order for that goal to be accomplished, there must be a healthy relationship between the starting point guard and the coach. James earned the starting point guard position this season under Hairston as a freshman in her second varsity season. Raven spoke glowingly of her new coach:
“Coach Hairston is a great coach, he approaches everything with energy and he has an open mind, always looking to improve his players, his coaching staff, and even himself.” Some people say your first coach is always the coach you’ll play your heart out for. With a coach like Rod Hairston helping her along the way, James has the potential to develop into a threat for all to fear in the ISL over the next three years.
Images courtesy of Ashley De Leonibus ('14)