Men’s Basketball: Ex-Oswego East star Ray J Dennis headed to Baylor out of transfer portal

Toledo guard Ray J Dennis, a former Oswego East star, looks for an open teammate during a game on Saturday, Jan. 14 at NIU.

Ray J Dennis wished to play on the biggest stage possible to live out a childhood dream before completing his collegiate basketball career.

He will now get that chance.

The former Oswego East star, the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year this past season at Toledo, announced his commitment to Baylor on Thursday morning.

Dennis, the two-time Record Newspapers Player of the Year, revealed his decision to college basketball insider Jeff Goodman on The Field of 68 YouTube broadcast. Dennis chose Baylor, the 2021 national champion, from a final four that included Illinois, Michigan and Utah.

“It was a tough decision. I had really good options and I have respect for all four coaches,” Dennis said on the broadcast. “Ultimately playing the long game, [Baylor coach] Scott Drew just being the person he is and the job he has done with his guards in the past, it felt like a great opportunity to me.”

Dennis, a 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 19.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists last season, leading Toledo to a 27-8 record and Mid-American Conference regular-season championship. He scored in double figures in every game.

Dennis began his college career at Boise State, spending two seasons there before transferring to Toledo. At Oswego East Dennis as a senior led the Wolves to the first sectional final in program history.

Dennis in March announced that he was declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft. He tweeted in April that if he decided to not stay in the draft he had entered his name into the transfer portal. Dennis has one year of eligibility remaining.

Dennis could push for a starting job as Baylor must replace three of its top perimeter players. Keyonte George declared for the draft in March, LJ Cryer transferred to Houston and Adam Flagler announced on Wednesday that he was remaining in the draft.

“You wait on that for all the schools, let the smoke clear,” Dennis told Goodman, “but also I was going through the process and trying to get as many workouts as possible and doing that for myself as well.”

Dennis at Baylor will be joining a program with a reputation for developing and producing elite guards. Jared Butler, now a member of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, and Davion Mitchell, now with the Sacramento Kings, both played for the 2021 national champions. George, a freshman last year, is expected to be a first-round pick in this year’s draft.

“Just seeing the development piece, it’s all about getting better if I want to live out my goal of playing in the NBA one day,” Dennis said. “You have to get better. Coach Drew has told me that the opportunity is there but that nothing is promised, that competitive aspect that I have to work for it. I love that.”