Andre Rafus Jr. of Lake Clifton (MD) is one of the most talented prospects in the class of 2017. At 6-foot-10, 195 pounds, he’s the perfect blend of length and athleticism. The figure he currently supports is akin to Lakers forward and rookie Brandon Ingram. For Rafus, his ability to run the floor, shoot the ball and play defense at a high level is why a bevy of Division one schools have made offers his way.
Rafus relayed to me that he has narrowed his list from seven to three: TCU, Kansas, and Georgetown. Removed from his list are Kentucky, Butler, NC State, and Seton Hall. He was initially considering making his decision in late November, early December. As of right now, he has no timeline for a final decision.
Despite all the recruitment hoopla, Rafus Jr. has been off to a tremendous start in his final high school season. For the 9-0 Dolphins, he’s been the leading cog averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. Rafus Jr. wasted no time asserting his dominance as he started the season against New Era Academy with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 blocks on December 6th.
“I been so dominant this year by just simply working hard every single day and pushing myself to my limits,” said Rafus Jr. “[I’ve worked on] my midrange and post area. I have worked on a lot I’ve made all my weaknesses my strengths. Me coming into Lake Clifton I told myself I would make sure I lead and help this team get back on track this year and I did just that. Although we have a lot to work on we are going towards the right direction.”
Rafus Jr. continues to look to improve his game in the climate he’s in of the fast-paced offense for the Dolphins, who average 61.9 points per game and have a winning margin of 17.8. The running and gunning of their team must include all players being in peak condition. Rafus points to his stamina being a previous hindrance in his game, but the amount of running the coaching staff puts him and the team through makes the exhaustion appear at a reduced rate.
Viewed as a top talent, with a 78-rating as a three-star recruit, according to ESPN’s scout grade, and ranked as the No. 1 power forward in Maryland and No. 29 in Class of 2017, per Scout.com, it’s a given Rafus Jr. is a problem for opposing defenses when on the court. His length, height and athletic ability allows him to play both forward positions when needed creating more of a mismatch, which he views himself as.
“My defense has gotten a lot better as well, and I see myself as a mismatch problem because I can score inside and out.”
Along with working on defense, Andre Rafus Jr. says he’s been “working on mainly everything” to become the best player he can. As his game on the court continues to develop, he’s also focused on the season as he has lofty goals when it comes to an end, and wants to accomplish even more because of head coach Herman Harried.
“I want to go undefeated, and my relationship with coach is great. He has pushed me like no other coach [has] before.”
With a strong start to the season, despite a few close games, it’s definitely possible for the team to go undefeated. Especially if coach Harried has his top guy in Rafus Jr. more motivated than any other coach he has come across before. It’s becoming a better player and taking opportunities that make Rafus Jr. want to achieve his goals, along with going against the top competition, such as when he attended the NBA 100 camp during the summer of 2016.
“NBA camp was a great experience,” said Rafus Jr. “I played against the ninety-nine other top high school players in the country [and] that was great.”
Next up for Andre Rafus Jr. is college. There’s no timeline for a decision to be made, but regardless of where he goes, his main goal is the same.
“[My] goal is to be the best player on the floor in college and the NBA.”
The NBA is the dream for every young basketball player, and the dream becomes more real with opportunities, notoriety and where the talent is being showcased. It’s no secret that many players go one-and-done from college or forgo college and play overseas for a year. With Rafus Jr., it might not be so different depending on where he stands after year one of college.
“Of Course, everyone wants that opportunity after their freshman year,“ said Rafus Jr. “But with that, I will leave that up to the man above to decide.”