Xavier Rathan-Mayes: I’m excited for the future

NoleGameday recently got a chance to speak with former FSU Men’s Basketball standout Xavier Rathan-Mayes. XRM was one of three Seminoles to declare for the 2017 NBA Draft alongside Jonathan Isaac and Dwayne Bacon.

He signed with FSU in 2013 out of Huntington Prep but was forced to redshirt during the 2013-2014 season. During his redshirt freshman season, XRM showed what he was capable of as a scorer. He scored 35 points during a close loss to UNC in Chapel Hill and later in the season he would go on to score 30 points over the final 4:38 during a rivalry game against Miami. Despite falling in the final seconds, XRM was the sole reason FSU was able to muster a comeback attempt.

The Noles signed Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley during the 2015 recruiting class and XRM was shifted to point guard. He struggled with the transition throughout his redshirt sophomore season but flourished this past season. Rathan-Mayes averaged a career-high 4.8 assists to a career-low 1.8 turnovers per game during the 2016-2017 season. His 2.58 assist to turnover ratio ranked him third in the ACC. He also took a step forward on the defensive end, and his season culminated with him being named to the ACC’s first-team all-defensive team.

You can check out my full interview with XRM below!

NoleGameday: You really came into your own as the leader of the offense this past season. How hard has it been transitioning from more of a shooting guard type role to now being a point guard?

Xavier Rathan-Mayes: “It was a tough transition at first because I was so accustomed to being a scorer. I never had to be a point guard or really lead a team. It was a tough adjustment but I think I’ve done a good job and my teammates and coaching staff did a good job of trusting me and believing in me.”

NoleGameday: It’s been five long years, and you played three seasons yourself without a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Obviously, you guys played in a few NIT Tournaments, but how did it feel for everything to finally come together and to make the big dance in your final year?

Rathan-Mayes: “It felt really good. To get Florida State Basketball back to a position where we know they’re successful. To be able to get them back to that point was really special for the group of guys that we had. I think we started something that’s going to continue on for many years.”

NoleGameday: You’ve improved vastly as a defender over your college career. How did it feel to finally be recognized for that hard work when you were named to the ACC first team all defense?

Rathan-Mayes: “It means a lot. I took a lot of pride in that [defense] this year. I took a lot of pride in not only being our leader offensively and being able to get guys the ball but being the head of our defense and setting the tone for all 13 guys that played. I took a lot of pride in that and I really wanted to be a guy that guarded the best player every single night. My coaches and teammates gave me the confidence to be able to do that once again.”

NoleGameday: What went into your decision to declare for the NBA Draft? How tough was it?

Rathan-Mayes: “It was really tough knowing that I’m not going to be with my brothers anymore, guys that are probably the closest to me in the world. It was really tough from that perspective. I just felt like it was time for me to pursue an NBA career, I don’t feel like I can be any more ready coming out of college. I’ve developed, I’ve learned and grown over as a player and a person I here. I just felt like it was time for me to make that next step and continue on with my basketball career.”

NoleGameday: What have you been working on prior to pre-draft workouts and the draft itself?

Rathan-Mayes: “Just a lot of shooting stuff, conditioning, ballhandling. Being able to shoot and be efficient when I’m tired. Just little things like that.”

NoleGameday: Will you be attending the NBA Draft combine?

Rathan-Mayes: “Most likely yes.”

NoleGameday: Do you feel like you’ve left the program in good hands?

Rathan-Mayes: “Most definitely, we got a group of guys that have bought into this program, a group of guys that can most definitely help. I think Terance [Mann] will be the leader of this basketball team next year with guys like Trent and CJ at the point guard position, and I think the program is in great hands. They’re going to do a great job with this program and do big things for us. I’m not worried at all, I’m excited for the future.”

NoleGameday: Looking back on it, what was the most memorable or fun moment during your time at FSU?

Rathan-Mayes: “I wouldn’t say one moment specifically. Just the time being here and being able to spend time with these guys. We really had a brotherhood and a special connection with each other. That’s what I’m going to miss the most, just being around these guys. The laughs, the jokes, that’s probably what I’ll miss the most.”

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