Former Liberty guard Ray Chen selected first overall in Chinese Basketball Association draft

Ray Chen became the fifth player to turn pro under the watch of head coach Ritchie McKay, as he was selected first overall in the 2017 Chinese Basketball Association draft.

LYNCHBURG, Va. — Despite playing just one season with the Liberty Flames, former guard Ray Chen had himself a strong collegiate career that has put him in a position to succeed.

Chen, a 6’1” guard from Taipei, Taiwan, was selected with the first overall pick in the recent Chinese Basketball Association draft.

“We are so proud of Ray and all the hard work he put into his craft,” head coach Ritchie McKay said. “Although he may not have received the playing time he wanted here at Liberty, he was a great teammate and a better person. His skillset and work ethic will result in a successful career in the CBA.”

Chen spent one season at Liberty, and he appeared in all 35 games in 2016-17 as a graduate transfer. He averaged 1.7 points and 0.9 rebounds per game, while averaging just over seven minutes of court time per night.

He showed flashes of what he can do on the hardwood. He put up a season-high 14 points on a pair of occasions, both in non-conference play.

In the Flames’ season opener against the Cairn University Highlanders, Chen recorded 14 points and two assists in a Liberty win. Then, on December 3rd, he put up 14 points in a seven-point road loss to the UNC Greensboro Spartans.

After training in Lynchburg following the season, Chen was identified as the top prospect in the Chinese Basketball Association draft.

Despite not putting up big numbers in Division I, Chen stood out and made a statement at the William Jones Cup in Taiwan. He led the tournament in scoring, averaging better than 20 points per contest.

Prior to arriving at Liberty, Chen played at Belmont Abbey where he averaged 16 points and 3.5 assists per contest. At Belmont Abbey, Chen earned Conference Carolinas third team all-conference honors, closing out his career with 1,084 points.

Liberty finished the 2016-17 season with a record of 21-14 overall, and 14-4 in Big South play. The Flames advanced to the quarter-finals of the 2017 CIT, where they fell to the UMBC Retrievers, 80-68.

– T. Bennett