For Kendrick Ray, basketball is much more than just a game. The first-year Quinnipiac guard grew up surrounded by family members who had a clear passion for the sport, which has helped shape who he is as a person and as a player today.
“The first time I met Kendrick was on his unofficial visit,” Quinnipiac men’s basketball head coach Tom Moore recollected. “I saw him play about six games in two days at the end of July and was very impressed. A week and a half later, he came up with his AAU coach and I got to sit down with him. He was a really nice young man, very attentive, listened, was humble and carried himself with a lot of excitement about being on the visit. As a coach, you really like seeing that. He made a very strong impression.”
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The 6-foot-1-inch, 180-pound Bobcat guard, who was born in Bronx, N.Y., is the younger brother of former Villanova standout Allan Ray. Allan Ray, who currently plays for the Ratiopharm Ulm, a professional team based out of Ulm, Germany, played a short stint in the 2006-2007 NBA season for the Boston Celtics.
His sister, Brittany, also enjoyed four years of Division I basketball. She also played in the Big East, but at Rutgers University where she averaged 14.2 points per game during her senior season.
Perhaps growing up playing with these two could explain the attitude he takes with him on the court.
“One time when I was younger, playing at the park with my brother and my sister, I finally got my win,” Ray said. “They both shrugged and said it didn’t count though, because I only won by two or three points. That was always our attitude, never satisfied.”
Moore said that the attitude comes from his background.
“He has been humbled by his older brother, his older sister and his father,” Moore said. “He’s got talent, and he’s very competitive. The thing that impresses me about him is that he wants to be good and he comes into the gym everyday with a great enthusiasm, and that’s what you look for as a coach.”
Ray enjoyed a very successful high school career at Middletown High School, which ended on a high note as he led the Bears to a Section IV State Championship during his senior season.
That year, he averaged seven points, six assists and three steals per game and was named team Most Valuable Player. Kendrick was recognized as the 2012 NYCHoops.com’s Top Point Guard in New York, and played his summer basketball before coming to Quinnipiac as a member of the Boston College Eagle’s AAU squad.
Ray’s most notable game thus far was in his first collegiate action, when he scored eight points in 23 minutes in the team’s Connecticut Six Classic matchup against Hartford on Nov. 10.
In his first year at Quinnipiac, though, Ray has made a lasting impression on his coaching staff beyond any statistic.
“I love what Kendrick is doing and how he has handled everything so far,” Moore said. “To his credit, he’s had some highs and lows as a freshman in terms of minutes, but his attitude never changed. He’s very coachable and very consistent. I love his approach.”
While Moore is enjoying what Ray does on the court, Ray is enjoying his short time so far at Quinnipiac.
“I’m still just learning more about the school and getting adjusted still,” Ray said. “But my teammates and my coaches are awesome. They’re really fun to be around, and very supportive. They don’t let you slack off about anything.”
For now, Ray will continue doing what has impressed his coaching staff and his peers so much, and humbly look forward to his future here at Quinnipiac.
“I just hope to make an impact on the team doing whatever the coaches ask me to do in the future,” he said.
However, there is one thing he is not humble about. Ray had a very candid answer when asked who would win a game of one-on-one against his older brother, Allan.
“I would win, definitely,” he said while laughing. “It would be a close one, but I’d give myself the edge 11-9.”