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May 30, 2008

Anthony Ray looks toward new challenges

Arizona Preps senior writer Anthony Ray has been working for Rivals.com since the website's origination in 1999. Since developing the site, Ray has been responsible for changing the basketball landscape in the state of Arizona considerably.

Also in 1999, Ray developed the Arizona Slam AAU/club program, which eventually became nationally recognized as the Arizona Magic in 2001. Since developing the Magic organization, a non-profit 501 C-3 organization, Ray's program has been responsible for helping more than 75 players in the state of Arizona receive division-I scholarships.

Such recent players as Jerryd Bayless (Arizona - 2008 NBA draft prospect), Zane Johnson (University of Arizona), Brendon Lavender (University of Arizona), Gavin Edwards (UCONN), Aaron Fuller (University of Iowa), Lawrence Hill (Stanford), Joey Shaw (Nevada via University of Indiana) and most recently Royce Woolridge (University of Kansas commit) all benefited tremendously from playing for the Magic program throughout their high school careers.

This week, Ray decided to discontinue the Arizona Magic travel program in an effort to focus more on his personal endeavors. A big decision for Ray and an emotional one as well.

"I felt that I had done all that I could do with AAU basketball," said Ray. "I want to focus more on my scouting, making this website even better and making our events the best they can be. By discontinuing the Magic program, I feel now that I can focus more on scouting and give all of my attention to that. It was an emotional process for me and my family but it was a decision that needed to be made."

Just two years ago, Ray almost lost his life in a battle with diabetes and now he feels that he can focus more on his health.

"I need to focus on my health these days," said Ray. "The commitment that comes with helping kids is a big one that takes a lot of time and energy and I just couldn't do it anymore. I just had a son born and this decision will allow me to spend more time with him, while also being able to focus on my health so that I am here for him in the future."

Ray said that he plans to make Arizona Preps' events bigger and better, while also bringing back seasonal individual player rankings to the Arizona Preps' site, something that has not been done since 2004. Ray also plans to be more involved in regional and national scouting events in the future.

"A lot of people around the country in the basketball world are excited about the future for me in scouting and so am I," said Ray. "Now I can focus all of my professional energy in the right areas."

Stay tuned to the Arizona Preps site this weekend, as we will take a closer look at how the Arizona Magic travel program changed the basketball culture in the state of Arizona.

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