WYOMING, Mich. — As a sophomore last season on the Wyoming junior varsity basketball team, Ramere Draper averaged 25 points per game.
He never dreamed he could keep that production up in his first season on varsity this winter, but he has.
In fact, Draper is currently averaging 23 points and 12 rebounds per game and he's now one of the best kept secrets in the entire state.
"Last season, I didn't really want to come up because they had a lot of scorers and I wanted to see how I could do on the JV team and ended up doing good," Draper said.
And good is an understatement.
Draper scored 46 points in a game last season and had another with 38. Despite a loaded varsity roster in the 2019-20 season, head coach Thom Vander Klay was ready to put him in the starting lineup.
"Ramere would have been coming off the bench really quick for us last year if not starting had he been up on the varsity," Vander Klay added.
Instead, Draper opted to stay with his friends on the junior varsity and learn how to lead his own team.
This season, he's now the go-to guy for the Wolves.
"It feels good," Draper continued, "but I know I have to work hard for my team because since I am that guy, I have to live up to that."
A very quiet star here in West Michigan this season has been Wyoming junior Ramere Draper, who is averaging 21 points & 13 rebounds a game, according to head coach Thom Vander Klay.— Zach Harig (@FOX17Zach) March 1, 2021
Eight double-doubles in nine games this season! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/0Oz6oF50pZ
And Vander Klay says he can't overstate how valuable he is to this season's team.
"In our last game against Holland he fouled out with five minutes to go, we were going to be up 17 but we ended up tied with 50 seconds to go," Vander Klay smiled, "he's critical to everything we do offensively and defensively."
In eleven games so far this season, his high point and rebound averages aren't exactly a small sample size, but Draper credits his team.
"My teammates really help me with everything, they get my shots open, it's basically them pushing me to go harder."
As the season continues, Vander Klay says it may be tougher for him to continue his hot start.
"The coaches know him now," Vander Klay laughed, "so he's seeing a lot of different defenses already."
While other players in West Michigan continue to garner the attention and college looks, Draper has quietly made a name for himself as the team continues to pick up some more wins.
"The idea really is prove yourself, some other guys in the area have been proven," Vander Klay said, "so now it's time to prove himself. Had he played varsity last year, my guess is you would have included him in the conversation of top players right away, he chose not to do that and so he's earning his stripes now, as it should be."
Draper knows he's on the cusp of becoming a household name which is only motivating him more this season.
"It doesn't feel good, really," he admitted being overlooked, "I know I've been working hard and I should be known a bit more but it'll come sooner or later I feel."
Draper and the Wolves will take on Zeeland West on Tuesday night in OK Green play.