Riverdale Baptist guard Chania Ray commits to Florida State

May 23, 2013
Chania Ray Riverdale Baptist guard Chania Ray (right) has committed to play at Florida State after de-committing from James Madison. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Florida State found the best way to appeal to Riverdale Baptist junior guard Chania Ray: Don’t recruit just her, recruit her family.

Ray committed to the Seminoles during a visit there last weekend, a decision she had no intention of making on the spot when she visited the school.

Ray, who in recent weeks had decommitted from James Madison, liked that Florida State Coach Sue Semrau early in the recruitment process asked her to send in a family photo.

“They made my whole family feel like we were all family instead of just me as a player,” said Ray, who averaged 13.7 points last season and made 49 three-pointers. “It was really cool. It was a new feeling for my whole family, not just me.”

Ray also liked Florida State’s criminal justice program and how Semrau clearly spelled out the roles of who she currently has on the team, who is coming in, how the offense is run and how much she would value Ray’s back-court versatility.

Ray got that this-is-the-place feeling that recruits often speak of experiencing on their visits.

“It was like no one has ever told me the stuff she told me,” Ray said. “I talked to some players and said, ‘Is coach like this all the time?’ They said that she’s always like this. It’s not a show. She’s always enthusiastic, has a lot of energy, goes [with players] out to eat, to the movies, for ice cream.”

After meeting with Semrau, Ray said that she and her mother, Meri Davis, took about a half-hour to call around and seek input from friends and coaches before committing. Ray wanted to make sure she got it right this time. She felt she rushed into her decision when she committed to JMU and “took the easy way out.”

Ray also considered visiting North Carolina State and Georgetown but opted against the Wolfpack because she preferred Florida State’s stability to playing for a new coaching staff. She wanted to go away for school, which ruled out Georgetown.

Semrau, recently named president of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, has been at Florida State for 16 seasons and has taken teams to nine NCAA tournaments, including in 2013, when the Seminoles (23-10) lost to Baylor in the second round.

Edison graduate Chasity Clayton, the ACC sixth player of the year, concluded her Florida State career this season.

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