Eastern Michigan University men’s basketball guard Raven Lee was a scoring machine against the University of Texas-Arlington on Nov. 23.
EMU won that game 74-69 over the Mavericks and the main contributor was Lee, with a career-high 38 points.
It didn’t seem to matter where he was on the floor or from what angle he took the shots. He scored all kinds of ways that night with layups, shots off the backboard and sometimes from area-code distance behind the three-point line. Lee did not even start the game, but it was one night where he could not miss.
Lee is a redshirt freshman guard from Detroit and moved out to Westland, which is about 30 minutes southeast, at an early age. He started playing basketball at six years old while playing at home with his father, Raven Sr. The junior Lee went on to play high school basketball at Romulus High School.
Romulus appeared in the Michigan high school playoffs on a consistent basis, but only reaching as high as the semifinals, where they lost to Rockford High School in 2012. With many fellow teammates going on to NCAA Division I, II and junior colleges, Lee said practices were very competitive, sometimes resulting in fights breaking out.
“Practice was like a war, and there were some fights,” Lee said. “But it taught me how to compete and play.”
When it came to decide on colleges to continue his basketball career, Lee chose Eastern Michigan. Other schools that gave him some offers included the University of Rhode Island, Pennsylvania State University, Florida State University and the University of Iowa. But Lee chose EMU over those other schools because of something those programs did not have.
“Penn State is a big school with a lot of tradition, but didn’t have the type of players EMU had and didn’t compete in the Big Ten,” Lee said. “But I really liked the coaching staff at EMU.”
Lee played eight games as a true freshman, averaging 5.5 points per game, including knocking down 14 against Madonna University.
Lee only played eight contests before suffering a stress fracture in his left foot in the middle of a practice before a road game at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Lee was awarded a medical redshirt and granted another year of NCAA eligibility, but Lee saw a silver lining come out of that.
“It was bumpy for me in my first season,” Lee said. “I didn’t know my role and I was a pure point guard, but I kept learning. I got injured and it helped me as a player to see the game from behind the scenes.”
This year, Lee got the starting guard assignment in the season opener versus Albion College. In the first three games, he scored double digit points, including getting a new career high in points, with 21 versus Robert Morris University Nov. 14. With the highs of scoring double digits came a low against Cleveland State University as Lee scored six points before fouling out.
“He’s a really good player,” Eagles forward Daylen Harrison said. “He’s talented, and still young, but he’s going to keep getting better and be a great player for a long time.”
Then, there was the game Lee remembers quite fondly. With Lee knocking down shots left and right, he scored 38 versus UT-Arlington. That day, he found himself as the top point getter in the country, outscoring Marshall University senior forward Elijah Pittman (35) and Creighton University senior forward Doug McDermott (33).
“Coach [Rob Murphy] left me in the game,” Lee said. “But he still let me be in the flow of the game.”
Lee is working on a communications major at Eastern Michigan. After EMU, he says he hopes to continue playing professionally in the National Basketball Association.