Rich Ross understands by now that people are going to get his name wrong, even as simple as it is. The St. Raymond rising senior is often called Rick Ross after the famous rapper. He prefers Rich.
“It’s funny,” Ross said. “They think I’m Rick Ross. It doesn’t matter, as a long as my name is out there.”
That’s what this year — starting this summer — is about for the 6-foot-1 small forward. Ross rededicated himself to the weight room and running. He’s gotten himself in better shape for his final travel ball summer and last go around with the Ravens. Ross has already trimmed down 15 pounds. He finally hits the summer circuit this weekend with Dream Nation and the Gauchos in hopes of attracting the interest of college coaches.
“He’s taking full advantage of his opportunities,” St. Raymond Coach Jorge Lopez said. “He’s working hard in the weight room and workouts. He is doing everything I ask him to and more.”
What Lopez is asking for of Ross is to be a major contributor with St. Raymond’s as a senior this fall. The Ravens lost both guard Tory Ferguson and center Luis Santos. Ross played well in flashes last season, but consistency will be key for both him and his teammates.
“I have to get faster, work on my handle, attack the basket, just make plays.” Ross said.
Lopez has seen the potential for him to do just that. Ross, while more comfortable on the wing, will often be placed at the high post because of his ability to pass and attack the basket. He is also one of the Ravens’ best shooters. This summer he hopes to increase learn to do all of those things at a higher level.
“He’s starting to think, ‘You know what? I can play with some of the best players in the city,’” Lopez said.
St. Raymond won the CHSAA Class AA intersectional title three years ago, took home the Archdiocesan crown in 2013. The 2014 campaign was a struggle. Ross believes they lacked cohesion and never seemed to put it all together for any long period of time. He hopes to be part of changing that and bringing the Ravens back to the top.
“Last year there were spurts where we weren’t playing as a team,” Ross said. “This year, hopefully we are able to play as a team, attack and become like a family.”
If they do so, everyone will know Ross’ name.