Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a seven-part series from The Flash Today covering the 11 members of the 2017 men’s basketball recruiting class at Tarleton State. This piece covers the addition of Corinthian Ramsey, once a Rivals 3-Star prospect who has been a firs-team all-region honoree in junior college. There is one more transfer to highlight on Saturday, with the final two parts of the series covering the high school signees to follow on Monday and Tuesday.
By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (June 23, 2017) — Corinthian Ramsey says he won’t be sleeping much Friday night.
The junior point guard is so excited he knows he will be restless.
Come Saturday, Ramsey will trek roughly 80 miles southwest from his home in Mansfield to his new home away from home in Stephenville, where he will be meeting new teammates and beginning life as a Tarleton State Texan basketball player.
“Man I’m so excited, I’m serious,” said Ramsey. “I bet I don’t sleep hardly at all.”
Tarleton assistant coach Coleman Furst may also struggle to tune out the excitement and rest adequately Friday. Furst made what is likely the most significant recruiting haul of his young coaching career with the commitment and signing of Ramsey, a Rivals 3-star prospect out of high school and a Mullens Enterprises Top 100 prospect in junior college.
If Ramsey proves to be the explosive playmaker Furst and associate head coach Chris Reisman are counting on, getting the former Rivals 3-star prospect from Mansfield Summit by way of Angelina College will eclipse Furst’s game-winning corner 3 in a rugged 53-50 victory over Midwestern state in the 2013 Lone Star Conference Championship final as his biggest play as a Texan.
Furst can no longer take those big shots for Tarleton, but all signs are he has found someone who can, and will do so fearlessly.
Ramsey averaged 22.1 points and earned first-team all-region acclaim in Junior College Region XIV, believed by many to be the toughest JUCO region in the country. It’s not as if Angelina College was his first choice, but he failed to qualify academically after signing a national letter of intent with Louisiana mid-major Nichols State.
Ramsey is atypical to the Division II ranks, a talent not easily ascertained, especially in a player with more than one season of eligibility. Because he is just 5-10, 160, Ramsey was never considered a prized jewel by major college programs, though some did pay a little attention before eventually shying away.
Division I mid-majors, on the other hand, were flocking to Summit High School for their chance to land the explosive point guard. A 3-star Rivals prospect at a mid-major is big news. At Division II, it’s basically monumental.
“Obviously signing a player of his caliber is a credit to the tradition of our basketball program, but also the university,” said Chris Reisman There have been very few 3-star type recruits who end up in the Lone Star Conference with two or more years to play Every once in a while you may get a Division I transfer with one year remaining, but I think Corinthian understands the success we have had with players with a lot of ability and wants to be next in line.”
Behind players like Chuck Guy, a point guard who transferred from Division I Arkansas-Little Rock with two years remaining and his senior year was named All-American and selected for the Reese’s Division II All-Star Classic by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. And Corin Henry, one of the best non-Division I transfers Tarleton has ever had at the point. Guy and Henry, of course, could also be on a list of best Tarleton point guards – and all-around players – in school history, regardless where they come from.
Henry, in fact, was the second name to come to mind when Chris Reisman was thinking of past stars who Ramsey reminds him of.
“He reminds me a lot of Emmanuel Andrews physically, but Corinthian is a better shooter. He’s sort of an Andrews and Corin Henry type, very confident and fearless a lot like Corin, and offensively he can really score it,” said Chris Reisman. “Coach Furst deserves a lot of credit. He did a great job recruiting him and getting him down to campus.”
Ramsey was such a dominating force at the junior college level that he started his career with 24 or more points in six of his first seven games. He had a stretch of 25 or more in four out of five games later in his freshman season, during which he tallied 18 performances of 20 or more points, reaching 30 in seven of those and pouring in a career-high 41 in the next to last game that season.
The 41-point outburst came in a 120-93 rout of Paris Junior College. Ramsey was 13-21 (62 percent) from the floor, 7-12 (58 percent) from the arc and 8-9 (89 percent) from the foul stripe.
“That was just one of those games where every shot I took felt like it was going in, and most of them did,” said Ramsey. “Really, I have to give the credit to my teammates, though. They saw that I had the hot hand and kept giving me the ball in a good position to score.”
His coaches could tell he was in microwave mode, leaving him on the floor 39 minutes, a number he would never approach during his sophomore season at Angelina.
After a change in coaches, Ramsey started just nine games this past season and only played about a third of each game on average. But that was plenty long enough for him to prove his game was still sharp. He scored points at a blistering pace, averaging 14 in just 13.6 minutes per game, and he showed improvements in other facets of his game, too, averaging an assist every 4.7 minutes and a steal every 8.5 minutes.
“I knew I had to become more than just a scorer. I was watching film and studying my game and I saw ways I could become a more complete player and a more efficient point guard even if it meant scoring less,” said Ramsey. “I want to get my teammates more involved and do more for the whole team around me.”
Ramsey says he enjoys the defensive side of the court, too, which should bode well as he develops a relationship with Tarleton head coach Lonn Reisman, long known as a stickler for tough-nosed defense. Players who don’t buy in to his intense brand of defense often find themselves on the bench, regardless how many points they are capable of scoring.
Ramsey says that won’t be a problem.
“I like defense. I think I’m a pretty good on-ball defender and really good at defending and cutting into passing lanes,” he said. “I like making plays on defense that lead to quick scores on offense, so I always try to bring a lot of energy to that side of the court.”
Ramsey compares his game to former Baylor and NBA point guard Pierre Jackson, the first player to lead a power-6 conference in both scoring and assists. Jackson, of course, has played the game at its highest level, but the numbers make sense of the claim.
Ramsey also has an interesting comparison stemming from his first meeting with Lonn Reisman, who has 635 wins in 29 seasons at Tarleton. He is the winningest college men’s coach in Texas and one of only six current Division II men’s coaches with 600 wins.
“When I met Coach Reisman, I thought of Greg Popovich,” said Ramsey, referring to the 1,200 game winner and five-time world champion coach of the San Antonio Spurs. “He looked like he was very much about his business, no playing around. He gets right to the point and lets you know what he needs from you and expects you to get it done, just like Popovich.”
Reisman has had success with that outlook, too, winning four regional championships and guiding two Tarleton teams on to the national semifinals.
“He’s a hall of fame coach, who wouldn’t want to play for him?” said Ramsey. “I know he’s going to take care of me and make sure I get to where I want to go in life.”
Coincidentally, it’s Ramsey who the Reisman’s are hoping can take them where they want to go on the hardwood.
“We feel like this is the piece to the puzzle that we were missing last year. This year, with Corinthian in the mix, we feel like all the pieces are there, we just have to fit them together just right,,” said Chris Reisman. “If we can do that it could be a special year.”
For Ramsey, it’s already special, because he gets to spend it at Tarleton.
“Who wouldn’t want to be at Tarleton?” he asked rhetorically. “It looks great, it feels great and it has a great atmosphere. It just feels right to be there.”