In one of the most closely followed recruiting battles in recent FSU history, Coach Hamilton and staff won a major battle this evening when Xavier Rathan-Mayes of Ontario, Canada chose the Seminoles. Rathan-Mayes is the No. 24 player in the class according to ESPN.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes (or XRM, if you're into the whole brevity thing) plays at powerhouse Huntington Prep in West Virginia. He's also the step-son of former FSU player Tharon Mayes ('87-90). But don't read too much into his families' affiliation with FSU. It may have gotten the staff in the door, but they still had to close the deal.
He chose Florida State over Illinois, which made an impressive late push for him, and UConn, where he has a great relationship with new head coach Kevin Ollie, not to mention family connections to New Haven.
XRM (6-3, 180) is a combo guard who is exceptionally smooth, well developed, and has absolutely terrific mechanics. In other words, he's not your typical FSU recruit. The last two players Ham landed who were rated this highly were Chris Singleton and Michael Snaer. And they were rated that highly because they were big, athletic freaks, but both were relatively raw. Rather, XRM's weaknesses are his inconsistent effort, decision making (can be too high volume at his team's expense) and lack of elite athleticism/strength. He's probably not going to be that lock-down defender (Snaer) or big-time rebounder from the guard spot (Kitchen). He's also only average size for a 2-guard. If he were 6-5 or bigger he'd be a top-10 player. But with FSU's current roster, that's fine. He'll be joining a team which will have three seven footers and a 6-7 guy who can run the point. And XRM can score from just about anywhere.
The other part of this commitment (which can't be overlooked) is that he is teammates and close friends with Andrew Wiggins (2014), who is the No. 1 prep player regardless of class. Will this affect Wiggins' decision? Unlikely. But it will enhance that storyline to the national press. And the longer FSU is included in that narrative, the better it is from a recruiting standpoint. Every prep player hears (and probably believes) the outrageous things people are lumping onto Wiggins' shoulders - he's the next Kevin Durant, he would have been a top-5 NBA pick as a high school sophomore - and as long as FSU is known as one of the two potential destinations for Wiggins, then it will be that much easier to get other recruits attention. And having XRM in-house strengthens that narrative.
XRM is the first Seminole recruit in the 2013 class. Barring attrition, FSU has one more scholarship to give.