In the third edition of “Westchester Way,” Ridiculous Upside will look back at Xavier Rathan-Mayes’ time in Westchester and his post-Westchester career. In Westchester, Rathan-Mayes was the seventh call-up and was the only rookie to average 16 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds during the 2017-18 season. In 44 games, he played a integral role on a team that won 32 games and made the G League postseason. Since leaving Westchester, Rathan-Mayes has played in Greece with AEK Athens and the Texas Legends.
Coming out of Florida State as a junior, Xavier Rathan-Mayes was confident in his game and knew where he belonged. He joined the Westchester Knicks as an affiliate player and spent 44 games with the team. Not only did he become the first Dub Knick to record a triple-double and is second on Westchester’s assist leader board, but he played a integral role in the team’s success. He consistently saw his game develop as his rookie season progressed, which resulted in him being the seventh player to earn a call-up.
For the former Westchester guard, it was great being a part of a team that experienced success and made an appearance in the 2018 G League playoffs.
“It was great. We had a group of guys that understood what winning took,” Rathan-Mayes told Ridiculous Upside. “We had a group of guys that understood we had to win together as a team and as a family in order for us to get to where we ultimately wanted to be, so it was a special group of guys and it was an exciting time for us.”
“I had a great group of guys around me, including an amazing coaching staff and great front office that backed me up to the fullest,” Rathan-Mayes continued. “It made my job easier. I was just able to go out there and just do what I did every single night and play at a high level. The assist thing comes from guys making shots, so that’s a tribute to the type of guys that I had around me. It was a special and unique experience to play there. I had a great coach in Coach Mike (Miller) and great assistants in Keith Bogans and D.A. (Derrick Alston) and Ross (McMains) when he was with us last year. It was definitely a unique and fun experience for myself.”
While Rathan-Mayes suited up in his last game in Westchester blue and orange, his contributions to the team won’t be forgotten. Not only did he have a great impact on the floor, but his hard work catapulted him to an opportunity in the NBA.
Westchester added two call-up banners to the County Center this season with one of them located not far from the video board and the second located by one of the entrances to the arena. As the years go on, the names on the list will forever be remember in the organization.
“It’s just a tribute to my hard work and every thing that I’ve worked for, but that’s just the beginning,” Rathan-Mayes said. “I’m extremely thankful to the Knicks organization and Westchester for giving me an opportunity right out of college. That’s just a start. Hopefully when I sign, I can look back and say that’s where it all started. It will be a tribute to the coaching staff and that organization for everything they have done for me.”
With Westchester’s season concluding in the 2018 postseason, his rookie journey was in the books. He joined the Los Angeles Lakers for Summer League then started his second season in a new location.
More than four thousand miles away from the Westchester County Center, Xavier Rathan-Mayes was donning the AEK Athens golden yellow and black. It was his first taste of overseas experience and it was a good learning experience for the 24-year-old guard.
“It was great, man. Being overseas, you just get to learn,” Rathan-Mayes said. “You get to learn a culture. New players. New guys. New coaches. Being in a different country away from home. I’ve been away from home for a long time, but it was a great experience.”
He spent five months in Greece before returning to the United States. The main thing that brought him back was opportunity. The second-year guard has shown that he has what it takes to perform under the bright lights of the NBA and has the skills and confidence to make it back to the Association.
“Opportunity brought me back,” Rathan-Mayes said. “Opportunity to play in the NBA. That’s my ultimate goal. When an opportunity presents itself like the one did here to be able to come back and hopefully get signed; that’s why you come back. That’s why I’m back. It’s been a great experience with the Texas Legends.”
He returned to the G League, but found himself in a new organization. Westchester traded his returning rights to the Texas Legends and he made his debut on Jan. 11.
“Great coaching staff. Coach Bob (Mackinnon) is amazing with these guys,” he continued. “Amazing with me. We have a great relationship and the things that we do on an everyday basis. Like I said, continuing to get better. It’s a process each and every day. It’s one step closer to what I’m trying to do. That’s something that we kind of acknowledge. It’s something that we push out every day and it’s something we’re going to continue to work at.”
While he is with a new team, Rathan-Mayes is still working diligently to get back to where he feels he belongs. It’s a process for him where he is continuing to improve and he’s continuing to do the things he feels he’s suppose to do in order to get to where he wants to be. While the Legends guard feels the call-up will take care of itself, his mentality is to continue to be a true professional and working on himself as a player and improving.