Colton Ray is a 196cm guard from Williamsburg, Virginia playing his second professional season and first in Germany with Pro B team ScanPlus Baskets. He began the season with KK Ulcinjska Rivijera Ulcinj (Montenegro-Erste Liga). Last season as a rookie he played with St. John’s Edge (Canada-NBL Canada) playing 13 games averaging 3.6ppg, 1.7rpg. He began his basketball career with Lafayette HS and also played with Saint Ignatios Prep (S.C.). He played at Coastal Carolina (NCAA) from 2013-2017 playing a total of 119 NCAA games and as a senior played 37 games averaging 9.4ppg, 6.4rpg, 2.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 73.0%. He spoke to germanhoops.com a few months ago about basketball.
Colton thanks for talking to germanhoops.com You recently celebrated your first Thanksgiving in Germany. What kind of experience was that for you and how American was the experience in Germany for you?
It was pretty cool they made it really Americanized for me so that it kind of felt like home. Not all the traditional foods but definitely had all the important ones.
After having been briefly in Montenegro this season you are now for good in Germany in the Pro B. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? Have you had any friends that have played in Germany in the past?
I don’t know much about Germany other than Dirk Nowitzki but I’m enjoying it. I have a few friends that played here in the BBL so I knew about the style of play from watching it online back home.
You have joined reigning Pro B champion ScanPlus Baskets. What was the deciding moment where you knew that this team would be the right fit?
Obviously knowing they were the defending champions I knew they would be a contender for a championship and that’s what drew me in. Then meeting the players and the coaches I knew it would be the right fit.
You have joined one of the most talented and deepest teams in the Pro B. What is your role on the team and would not being the number one scoring option be ok with you?
My role on the team is to do a bit of everything and no that’s not a problem with me as long we get the dub that’s all that really matters. I’m just trying to win a championship.
The team has many different players with different nationalities. What has been your impression of the club and how important is it having so many different type of basketball cultures playing as one?
I’m loving it so far just being able to meet so many guys from so many different areas and being able to connect through basketball is such a cool thing to me.
You’re a guy that likes to dunk so you should feel right at home having a guy like Brian Butler as your teammate. What have you appreciated most about his game in the early going?
Well Brian is our captain so from the jump I immediately respected him because you don’t get that title without earning it. I mean the guy is a hard worker and a high flyer and I’ve enjoyed being able to go out and compete on the same side as him.
Have you picked up anything from Brian Butler’s dunking abilities in practice or does a guy like you not need any extra dunking tips?
Hahaha I mean nothing crazy. He has a lot more in his dunking bag than I do. I’ll try to do something a little crazy in the warm up line and then he’ll do the same thing and make mine look awful so I really leave the dunking up to him.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a very flashy player that can really do it all on the court. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit that description?
I mean I don’t know because those guys are so extremely talented but I watch a lot of Zach Lavine clips and athletic wings who can put it on the floor and try to model my game and take a little piece out of all of their games and put it in mine.
You can shoot the ball well, run the floor well and can finish with the best of them. What other strengths does your game have that you will showcase in Germany?
I think I’m a guy who can defend pretty well too. I might not be your typical pressure full court kind of guy but in a half court setting I take pride on the defensive end making sure my man doesn’t score and sacrificing my body by taking charges as well.
On what parts of your game are you working most on to continue to make your game as versatile as possible?
I think just remaining consistent is a big thing for me. I stay in the gym and try to go to any optional shooting practices there are in an effort to help do that. I’ve learned as a pro consistency is key and it helps you maintain a job as well as get jobs later on.
You’re a player that can fill up the stat sheet with ease, but what do you feel is still a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t get noticed right away?
I’m not sure. Maybe my creating for others. I’ve always been a team player and I try my best to get everyone involved on the court to a fault sometimes.
You played your rookie season with St. John’s Edge (Canada-NBL Canada) playing 13 games averaging 3.6ppg, 1.7rpg averaging only 9,9 minutes per game. I am sure you expected a totally different type of rookie season. How tough was your rookie season and did you experience any positives?
Well honestly I don’t even consider it my rookie season because I suffered a torn meniscus prior to the season officially starting. I tried to play through it but the pain dealt too much and I wasn’t performing at a level I knew I could. Luckily Coach Jeff Dunlap and the front office gave me the opportunity to stay and rehab and even put me in some games toward the end of the season just to let me get my feet wet in the pro game which was huge. Nothing but love for the St John’s Edge and still keep tabs on them. But yeah I really consider this my rookie season.
In your 13 games there no team scored less than 88 points. I have heard good things about the NBL league in that it continues to grow. However is this league similar to the G-League in that guys are playing solely for stats as the big scoring games would suggest?
The league is a lot tougher than people give it credit. There were some really good players that were exceptional offensively which provided a lot of scoring. I don’t think that it’s just scoring though because every night guys were trying to win and stats didn’t matter as much, at least on our team.
You played with quite a few guys that had played in Germany like Carl English and Rashaun Broadus. But when I saw the name Ransford Brempong, I chuckled a bit. I mean he retired ages ago. He came out of retirement after being out of basketball for 7 years. How did you experience the big man? Was it amazing that he could just come back after such a long time and play at a level like that?
Big Rans was my guy from the minute he arrived. Hearing his story and seeing him come out of retirement and being a key contributor was awesome to witness. He gave me so many lessons that I’ve carried with me to Germany and we still talk every now and then to this day.
You played at Coastal Carolina (NCAA) from 2013-2017 playing a total of 119 NCAA games. You won two Bug South Conference titles in 2014 and 2015. Which one was more sweet?
They both were REALLY sweet but 2014 was special because it was our first NCAA tournament birth in 25 years and we endured a lot of hard losses that year that really shaped us into making a run in the conference tournament and ultimately as a 16 seed taking a 1 seed UVA down to the wire and almost pulling off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA history.
You reached the NCAA tournament in 2015 losing to Wisconsin 86-72. What memories do you have of this game despite not getting many minutes?
Honestly just seeing how good that team really was up close instead of on TV. Frank Kaminsky dominated us effortlessly and everyone else really followed his lead. After playing them we understood how they went to two straight Final Fours.
You had many great games as a senior, but many that resulted in loses. Was your 15 point 16 rebound effort in the 81-77 win against S Alabama one of your fondest games concerning your overall play?
Awesome game from a rebounding standpoint and pushing the game to overtime and winning on the road was awesome as well. My fondest game was probably my senior night which was my last game in the home gym with the guys I came into Coastal Carolina with and securing that win will always hold a special place in my heart.
Is Elijah Wilson like a brother for you? You went through thick and thin in school for four years. Now he is a top player in Austria. What was your fondest memory with him?
Blood wouldn’t make us closer. Talk to him still all the time and even lived with him this summer. Funny story actually we played each other in prep school when we were both committed to Coastal and his team cheated and beat us by 1 in a holiday tournament. My fondest memory of Elijah would have to be when we played Minnesota as freshman. It was maybe our 4th or 5th game playing a top program on the road and we came out absolutely on fire together. I finished with 15-16 points and didn’t miss a shot and he finished with 25. I knew our time at Coastal would be special after that and ultimately we became two of the most winningest players in our schools history.
How did head coach Cliff Ellis prepare and groom you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach always had belief in my talent and knew if I panned out and worked hard I would play professional at some level. So he made it a point to stay on me and coach me tough because he could see my potential as a player. At times I didn’t understand but looking back now it all makes sense.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Elijah Wilson?
Obviously me but he probably won’t ever admit it. He did win the last time but I’m definitely winning the overall series.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
Either Eldridge Payton or Frank Kaminsky
Who would be your starting five of best teammates you ever played with?
Elijah Wilson Badou Diagne Tristan Curtis Warren Gillis Myself And Ron Trapps off the bench
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?
LeBron MJ Curry KD
What is your personal opinion of the never-ending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?
Jordan will always be the greatest player ever however LeBron has solidified second. Mike just was so ahead of his time and his killer instinct would make him a problem in the modern day era as well.
The Los Angeles Lakers are over 500 at the moment. Where do you see the journey of them going this season with Lebron James?
I picked them to go to the conference finals. You can’t ever bet against LeBron. Only when he’s playing against the Warriors
Luka Doncic is the real deal and the top rookie in the NBA at the moment. Do you feel that with time he could become one of the greatest European players to ever play in the NBA?
He’s definitely on track. The things that guy can do at his size is unreal. Definitely a believer.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Colton for the chat.