Deep Ravens prepared to fly high

St. Raymond’s late season surge last year ended quietly with quarterfinal exit in the CHSAA Class AA intersectional playoffs. The returning players never let that feeling leave them during a summer of preparation, maturation and plenty of hype around its star duo of Sidney Wilson and Isaiah Washington.

It’s left the Ravens determined to make plenty of noise this season.

“We went back in the gym and we just waited until now,” said Washington, a junior point guard.

This is suppose to the year St. Raymond makes a run at dethroning three-time defending city champion Christ the King. Washington said it would be a disappointment if the Ravens don’t make it to the title game. Both he and Wilson have taken on a much biggest leadership role and taken more ownership of this year’s team.

“So much has been said and written about Sid and Isaiah,” Ravens coach Jorge Lopez said. “I think for them they want to leave their mark on New York City and St. Raymond. They come into this year with a mission, with a purpose.”

Wilson, a 6-foot-7 junior wing averaged 14.7 points per contest last season while helping the Ravens reach the Archdiocesan title game. He is one of the city’s best shot blockers and holds scholarship offers from South Florida, Providence, Minnesota, Fordham, VCU, Indiana, Cincinnati and Rutgers.

Washington’s confidence and understanding of his role grew with every game last season, averaged 17 points over the Ravens’ final seven games. The 6-foot junior has offers from Rutgers, Iona, St. John’s, Indiana, Minnesota and Providence among others.

“It will probably be one of the best duos you will probably see in the long time,” Lopez said…“These two guys I think are in a special group and they are going to do special things in the upcoming year.”

They will have plenty of help.

St. Raymond saw forward Caheim Brown transfer to Lincoln, but still has a talented supporting cast and more size then in recent years. Sophomore Omar Silverio will start at shooting guard and sophomores Dallas Watson and T.J. Trice will be key contributors in the backcourt.

It is up front where the Ravens feel they have greatly improved. Seniors forward’s Lydell Gefrard, who is 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-4 classmate Brian Adams will make a big impact on the glass. Their presence will lesson the load on Wilson.

“I was playing mostly the four and five last year,” Wilson said. “We didn’t have that much of a big presence in the paint…We have more size down there. That will help rebounding.”

The group built its chemistry playing in leagues and team camps over the summer and are eager to show the rest of New York City what its got.

“We have been talking about the season since last year when we lost,” Wilson said. “We have been trying to get ready as much as we can.”

More from Around NYC