At the beginning of each new year, Phenom Hoops works to assemble a series of articles centered around unsigned senior prospects. Last season, hundreds of players from North Carolina went on to play at the Division I, II, III or NAIA levels, and that number looks likely to continue increasing with the current senior class. Typically, we take a closer look at guys who are overlooked and underrated, and today's edition will highlight Raphael Gay of Winston-Salem Christian.
We've seen Gay perform various times since entering the state, including at our most recent NC Top 80, where we stated, 'Continuing onto a player who was easily among the top performers on display at camp, Raphael Gay. He's a strong, explosive, physically imposing forward prospect with an excellent frame and the ability to utilize his body to overwhelm opponents in a variety of different ways. He plays hard at all times, defends his position well, and consistently sets the tone as a rebounder. Gay is nearly unstoppable from getting downhill and finishing in transition. Next in his development process is working on his consistency as a three-point shooter, as it would make him even tougher for opponents to contain. Coach Dre on Gay: 'Raphael is a highlight provider. He is bouncy for real, and will take anyone up to the rim with him. He punishes the rim with force and has a balance of grace. In transition, he runs the floor hard and finishes anything thrown his way. He has great hands and nice footwork in the post. His physical presence is quite noticeable, as he has the frame of a grown man. He plays with great intensity and was a pleasure to coach. This young man has tremendous upside.' Gay was a definite standout during camp, securing the Mr. Hustle award with relative ease, and should be a priority for various types of programs over the coming months.'
Since then, Gay has only continued to solidify himself as an obvious target for numerous different Division I programs. He's a big, strong, mobile, physically imposing forward prospect who doesn't need the ball in order to make a lasting impact. Gay is excellent on the glass and can push the break if needed, but typically runs the floor and capitalizes on transition opportunities as a finisher. His blend of toughness and explosiveness makes him an absolute nightmare for opponents to meet at the basket. He's very active on both ends of the floor and consistently outworks others for extra opportunities. Gay isn't going to showcase multi-dribble combos or stepback jumpers off the bounce, because it's simply not his game. He really embraces his two-way identity and finds ways to produce within the flow of the action'regardless of surrounding teammates. Expect Gay to be successful wherever he goes.