Male Area Athlete of the Week: Raph fills it up for PR-B
Shooters, shoot and Pine River-Backus’ guard Brady Raph has not been shy about shooting his senior season.
Raph averages a little over 20 points a game for the Tigers and last week dropped 30 in a win over Menahga. He also finished with 22 points against Blackduck and 20 points against Red Lake both losses.
“The offense is run through me,” Raph said. “I’ll bring the ball up most of the time and call our offense. When our offense is not going very well my teammates trust me to try and make something happen.”
In his 30-point game against Menahga, Raph mentioned the ball moved really well. He thought it was one of the higher assists games for PRB which helped him get many open looks.
“Everyone has their role and everyone ran them pretty well,” Raph said of the Menahga game. “It was a good confidence booster. I haven’t shot the ball well at the start of the season and shots were falling that day. I know I can go out and score as many points as I want, but I also know I need to get the offense going.”
The 30 points was a good mix of Raph calling his own number, but also getting others involved.
Whenever Raph sees a mismatch with one of his post players he tries to feed them in the paint. He admits, however, most of the PR-B offense comes from 3-point shooting. Something Raph excels at.
“Brady is a tremendous 3-point shooter,” Tigers head coach John Riewer said. “He has improved a great deal. He’s been able to drive the ball a little more and get to the foul line, which has improved his scoring per game.
“He has taken on a leadership role as well. He is one of our captains along with Louis Bueckers. He’s an outstanding teammate and is one of the best perimeter shooters I have ever coached.”
Riewer said Raph wants to win so bad sometimes he tries too hard to make things happen for them.
He’s still one of the top assists players on the team and he makes his teammates better, which Riewer likes to see.
Being a four-year starter, Raph has a chance to become the Tigers all-time leading scorer when the season ends.
“That would be quite the accomplishment considering all the great players we have had come through our school,” Riewer said.
The best spot on the floor for Raph is the left wing. He can rise up and shoot over anyone and also has learned to be a crafty driver and finisher in his senior season.
“I love when I can get the open shot on the left wing,” Raph said. “I also love being on the right wing and getting a screen to go left because I can make a lot of passes driving to my left.”
Riewer mentioned anytime Raph has the ball beyond the 3-point line he is a threat to fire. He has the green light all the time.
Raph also plays golf where he has made the Class 1A state tournament four times and finished in the top 10 three times.
He has drawn a lot of interest from colleges to play basketball and golf. Raph admits he would prefer to play basketball because he likes the team aspect of the game more. However, he could wind up doing both if the right opportunity presents itself.
“It’s always been a hard decision between basketball and golf, but after this last season, I’ve been leaning towards basketball,” Raph said. “I want to play basketball at the next level, but I have not found a certain spot yet.”
Riewer thinks he is capable of playing whatever he wants to play at the next level.
“He would fit in really well offensively, he would just have to improve defensively,” Riewer said. “But his golfing ability, he is an unbelievable golfer, and to be honest he is a great student so he is capable of doing both at the next level if he wanted at a Division III.”
Moving forward, Raph hopes the team can improve as the regular season progresses. The goal for the Tigers is to be the best team possible when playoffs arrive.
“We are just trying to improve,” Raph said. “We have to rebound better and get better shots offensively and make the shots we are capable of. We haven’t shot the ball that well yet this season, so I am excited to see when we do.”
School: Pine River-Backus
Highlights: Finished last week with a 30-point game against Menahga, 22-point game against Blackduck and a 20-point game against Red Lake. He is currently averaging 21.5 points per game.