Canadian big man Ray Kasongo has made quite a name for himself this week in Las Vegas.
After going for 24 points, 15 rebounds and 7 blocks in a loss to Jahlil Okafor, Cliff Alexander and Mac Irvin Fire, Kasongo has added offers from Oregon, LSU, Florida State and Tennessee. Kansas assistant Jerrance Howard has also been following Kasongo.
Kasongo — part of a new wave of Canadian talent playing South of the border — has played the past two seasons in the Appalachians of Eastern Kentucky. In 2011-2012, he played at East Ridge High School (Lick Creek, KY), and this past year, he was just 30 miles down the road at district rival Pikeville (KY) High School.
Kasongo has already drawn interest from UCLA, Kentucky, Arizona, USC, N.C. State, California, Stanford,DePaul, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Ohio State and Wright State.
Even with the current offers he holds, the big man admits he still has plenty of work to do.
“I definitely need to work on my endurance and my motor,” he told SNY.tv earlier this year. “I want to get to the point to where my presence can’t be ignored because that will only open up my teammates.”
That sentiment was echoed by Kasongo’s current coach at Pikeville High School, coach Bart Williams.
“Ray just needs to buckle down, he’s now realizing that he can’t just rely on his freakish athleticism and big body to get to the level he wants to get to,” Williams said. “He’s realizing the work that people who are at his talent level put in to reach their dreams of playing D-1 basketball, but athletically, the sky is the limit for this kid.”
He added: “Ray runs the floor extremely well for a kid his size, good rebounder and so strong…he would be very hard to handle at the small forward or power forward, but I do think he does have some work to put in to become a good 3 or 4 at the next level”.
(Chazz Griffith contributed reporting)
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.