Jacksonville Daily Progress
Always a crowd favorite as a member of the Jacksonville High School basketball team, Raybon Riden took the necessary step to insure that his days of playing the sport that he dearly loves does not end any time soon.
Riden signed with Cedar Valley College, a NJCAA-member school that is located in Lancaster, Texas, late Tuesday morning in a ceremony that took place inside the Jacksonville High Fieldhouse.
Many family members were on hand to share the event with Riden, in addition to Cedar Valley head mens basketball coach Chris Carter, Jacksonville athletic director and head football coach, Chris Taber and Mark Alexander, Tribe head boys basketball coach.
Riden seemed grateful for the opportunity to join the Suns.
“I know that many people don't get the opportunity to play at the next level, so I know that it is a big privilege to play (college basketball),” Riden said.
Riden said that he was formally recruited by two schools, and that deciding on Cedar Valley was an choice for him to make.
“Cedar Valley was the second school that recruited me,” Riden explained. “But, when I went over there and got to meet coach Carter and learn about their program, I knew that it was the right place for me...and it's close to home.”
Riden went on to add how important the time was that he spent learning basketball from three coaches; the late Stacy Hunter, (former Jacksonville High head boys basketball coach) Brent Kelley, and Alexander.
“Coach Stacy Hunter was there with me for the longest, since I was about six years old, and coach Kelley was with me from the seventh grade until last year and then I was with coach Alexander this year; so I have been fortunate to have been with some pretty good coaches.”
Carter, who is from Diana,Texas said that it was not only Riden's hardwood skills, but his off-the-court demeanor as well that made him so appealing.
“The one thing that I found after watching Raybon play some was that he has a good basketball I.Q., plus he brings good character — I'm looking for good character guys this year that will do well in the classroom,” Carter said. “He shoots the ball well as a point guard and he adapted well to plays that we drew up.”
Riden was the second of three East Texans that Carter signed on Tuesday. That group also included Zachris Sturns of Alto High School as well.
Carter said that it was important for Cedar Valley to be able to dip into the East Texas talent pool annually.
“As a high school kid coming out of New Diana High, I was one of those East Texas kids that were overlooked and I always said that if I got to be a college coach or were in a position to help kids that I would always come back and recruit East Texas kids, because this area is known for its football first, but there are a lot of good East Texas kids that come out every year.
“There are plenty of kids that are playing at junior colleges in East Texas, like at Tyler, Kilgore and Jacksonville, but those kids are not East Texas bred.”
Carter also knows the caliber of athlete that Jacksonville High turns out as Carter was previously coach at Richland College in the Dallas area.
While at Richland he signed both Tradarreon Moreland and Duke Hamilton, a couple of former Indian greats.
“Yes, I'm very familiar with the type of kid that comes out of the Jacksonville High School program,” Carter said. “I've also signed kids from Tyler Lee and Liberty-Eylau, so I spend a lot of time recruiting in East Texas.”