Saturday, August 5, 2017

Still A Really Good College Player.....

I live twenty minutes from NC State, thirty minutes from Duke and UNC, ninety minutes from Wake Forest and East Carolina.  There are a few other Division I school within that radius like Campbell, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Charlotte, Elon, and probably some other school that I am not thinking of at the moment.  

There are plenty of great college athletes around these parts who end up playing professional sports.  In the past few months residents of the Triangle, that's the North Carolina nickname for Raleigh-Durham, have seen high end draft picks in the NFL in the person of Mitch Trubisky......




or in the NBA draft with Jayson Tatum.....


and Dennis Smith Jr.......


or in the Major League Draft with J.B. Bukauskas.....


There are also plenty of other local players who were fun to watch while they were in college, but they never really experience much notoriety at the professional level.  One of my favorite NC State basketball players who was there while I was in college was Courtney Fells.  He had some injury problems that made him miss some time, but overall he was a great athlete and really fun to watch.  He made tons of really cool plays like this defensive stop against Duke.....


and Courtney could always dunk.  He was fun to watch in the open court.....


Yes, that was off of a Steph Curry airball.  

Beyond all of the local North Carolina schools having some great talent come through the area, it's also fun to watch all of the other schools in the ACC, or other power five conference, come into town to play their games.  Just like the North Carolina schools, there are plenty of superstar caliber players who go on to enjoy success in professional sports and others who were fun to watch in college, but just don't really go anyway afterwards......

One of my favorite baseball players who fits into the later category, great college player/shaky professional, is actually playing locally this summer for the Brewers A Ball team in the Carolina League.  I first saw former Louisville outfielder Corey Ray while he was playing summer ball with the USA Baseball College team a few summers back.  Seemed like a nice player.  He also appeared locally while playing against NC State, Duke, UNC, and for the ACC Tournament.  The tournament is held at the Durham Bulls stadium.  

The Brewers drafted Ray high in the first round in 2016.  In almost 150 games, Ray has hit .241/.315/.376 with 11 home runs, 5 triples, and 37 doubles.  The extra base hits aren't actually that bad, but that slash line is ugly.  Anyway, all of it has caused some slippage in the price of Corey Ray cards which were a little pricy after he drafted.  

I recently actually picked one of his autographed cards out of last year's Bowman's Best.....




There are several things that I really like about this card.  First, I like the Bowman's Best cards.  Pretty nice design, clean spaces for the players to sign, and a nice on-card signature from the Brewers outfield prospect.  I also the fact that he included his number 2 on the card.  He's wearing that number in the Minors this season, but there is no guarantee that he will have that number once he gets to Milwaukee.  

There is still time for Ray to pull it together, get the Majors, and be a good player.  If he never gets there though, he was still a really good college player.  

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