Future Tar Heel point guard can take over game
By Travis Richmond, CNNSI.com
HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Every player at the adidas ABCD Camp is good, which makes it even more impressive when someone single-handedly takes over a game at the four-day elite event.
That is exactly what Raymond Felton did on the first evening of games at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Felton, a 6-foot-1 point guard whom CNNSI.com analyst Brick Oettinger ranks as the No. 3 overall prospect in the class of 2002, demonstrated an ability to score from anywhere on the court as he poured in 21 points to lead his team to a fourth-quarter comeback victory.
"There is no pressure on me here," said Felton, a Latta, S.C., native who has committed to play his college ball at North Carolina. "I like to play with the best guys there are. Not to show them up but to show them what I can do."
The basketball was in Felton's hands for every one of his team's possessions in the fourth quarter, as he took turns pulling up off pick-and-rolls and driving to the basket to draw hard-earned fouls.
Yet despite his own shooting touch, Felton said he would rather find a teammate for a big basket than sink a jumper of his own.
"A bigger play for me is making a good move, making guys come for me and then dishing it off," Felton said. "That's definitely better that hitting a shot. I like having the ball in my hands because I want to control what is happening on the court and I want to create for my teammates."
That mentality summarizes the play Felton made to give his team the lead for good with just a few minutes left in the game. Felton made a quick move, drove past his man to the lane and dished to a wide-open teammate on the right wing for an uncontested 3-pointer.
"It's not all about scoring. College coaches can tell if you are a good player," Felton said. "You don't have to score 40 points every night. Some nights you will score 40 but you can't come out and try to take every shot. That's what a team is for."
North Carolina, Felton's future team, could have used an unselfish playmaker like him a year ago when it was bounced in the second round of the NCAA tournament. But the Tar Heels must wait still one more year before acquiring Felton's services.
"It makes me feel great to know that some place like North Carolina is kind of waiting for me to get there," said Felton, who maintained that his commitment to the Tar Heels is firm. "It has always been a dream of mine to play there. They have good players and coaches and I am looking forward to the Duke rivalry."
Felton, who describes himself as a player "who likes to get my team involved and break my defender down," has drawn comparisons to former North Carolina star Phil Ford.
"I have never known Phil Ford and have never seen him play a full game, only clips of him," Felton said., "But my dad has told me about him, and what he has told me makes that a great compliment."
Though playing in the NBA is Felton's ultimate goal, he said he plans to be in Chapel Hill for at least a few years to add to the Tar Heels legacy.
"Of course my main goal is to go into the league, but I want to stay [in
college] at least three years," Felton said. "If I can go after two, I will go.
But if I have to stay four, that's fine, too. I am still going to go back and get
my degree even if I leave early."