By Robert Wilson

       Raymond’s EJ Paymon has four Division I scholarship offers and there are several others interested.

       The list will continue to grow, especially if the 6-foot-9 junior forward has games like he did last week.

       Paymon averaged 22 points and 14.3 rebounds and led defending MHSAA Class 4A state champion Raymond in wins over Biloxi, Lanier, and Wingfield.

       For his outstanding performances, Paymon has been named the PriorityOne Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Boys Basketball Player of the Week.

       Paymon had 25 points, a career-high 22 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, 2 steals and 1 assist and made 10 of 15 shots from the field, 2 of 2 from 3-point range, and 3 of 4 free throw attempts in a 73-70 overtime victory over Biloxi, who is one of the favorites to win the MHSAA Class 6A state title this season, in the Rumble in the South at Mississippi College in Clinton. He also had 20 points and 11 rebounds in a 70-52, Class 4A, Region 6 victory over Lanier and 21 points in a 67-47 victory over Wingfield.

       “I am proud of the way EJ rebounded, he was dominant on the glass and led to easy baskets (in the win over Biloxi),” said Raymond coach Tony Tadlock, who has led the Rangers to the 4A state championship game in all six years he has been at Raymond. “Beating the No. 1 team in the state (Biloxi) was huge for us. A win that let us know we even more belong. EJ is a very talented kid that is super coachable. As good of a player he is, he’s an even better kid. EJ is one of the first in the gym each day and the last to leave. He is 6-foot-9, 225 pounds, left-handed and has a 7-foot-4 wingspan. EJ soaks up what you tell him like a sponge. He is a great listener. The sky is the limit for EJ.”

Paymon – a member of the PriorityOne Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Preseason Elite 11 Team – is averaging 21.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.0 blocked shots per game for 17-6 Raymond going into this week.

       Paymon – who is rated the No. 1 player in Mississippi in the Class of 2024 by ESPN – has received Division I offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas Christian University and New Mexico State. Also, Tadlock said Texas and Texas A&M have called about Peymon since his big game against Biloxi.

       Raymond’s next game is Friday against North Pike in a 4A, Region 6 game at Raymond.

       Coaches can nominate their players by calling or texting Robert Wilson at 601.506.2276. Only players who play teams in Hinds, Madison and Rankin Counties are eligible.