For the Florida A&M men’s basketball team there is no question who the dominant players are this season: senior guard Marcus Barham (17.3 point per game) and senior forward Desmond Williams (16.3 points per game). The question all season has been, who would be that third consistent scorer to back them up? The answer for the team came in the form of not one, but two of the teams’ veteran guards.
Senior guard Elijah Mayes and junior guard Justin Ravenel have been a reliable third option for the Rattlers ever since they’ve started the MEAC portion of their schedule.
In the seven conference games the Rattlers have played, Mayes has averaged 13.6 points, made 52 percent of his total shots, and dished out four assists a game. Ravenel has averaged 15.4 points per game, made 52 percent of his shots, and shot 46 percent from the three-point line in the same amount of time.
“We started getting in the gym a whole lot more,” said Ravenel. “We didn’t really have a chance to work on our individual games in the beginning of the season. (Now) we have a chance to work on our overall game. That’s the most important thing.”
His counter-part had similar thoughts, “Lots and lots of time in the gym and preparing for games differently now,” said Mayes. “Really treating the season with professionalism in regards to film study listening to our coaching staff, diet, sleep, etc.”
The duo seems to put on their best performances during home games against conference rivals. In the game against Howard on Jan. 3, Mayes put up 22 points while shooting a very efficient 70 percent from the floor and dishing out three assists. In the Rattler’s very next home game against Delaware State, Ravenel exploded for thirty points, making 65 percent of his shots which included eight three-pointers.
“Our team really needs it,” said the junior guard after his performance. “Being in the gym and just working on everything…that’s one thing that really helps me and I think I’ve (done better) with that in the second half of the season. Going forth I’ll continue to do that.”
The team is going to need the two guards to continue their play during this important stretch of their schedule. The Rattlers are undefeated at home when either Mayes or Ravenel score in double digits. With six of the next nine games of the season being home games against conference opponents, it’ll be important for the pair to play well.
“It’s very important,” Ravenel said. “We’ve been playing really well on home court, and we really want (our opponents) to feel the atmosphere at Al Lawson.”
“It’s very important, not only to keep it up offensively, but defensively as well,” echoed Mayes. “Each team we play will require different tasks from all of our guys.”
The duo and the rest of the Rattlers men’s team will have their next test at home Jan. 31 against Savannah State.