CaliforniaPreps - Paul Pierce 2.0: Rayah Marshall is “Lady Truth“
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Paul Pierce 2.0: Rayah Marshall is “Lady Truth“

Ain't this what they've been waiting for? The worst of her generation with a cold heart will beat down the elderly and play “knock out” on defenseless victims. Uncool teenagers unexpectedly punch older people out cold.

But Rayah Marshall is the antithesis of evil. That fly Lynwood High 10th grader is at a grocery mart on 36th and Vermont by Weemes Elementary in South LA where she pulls a Nipsy Hussle (who supported the local community before his tragic death) and offers to help senior citizens put away their groceries to their car.

Later that day, Rayah’s caring heart breaks for the homeless woman Gloria who she sees living in squalor on the streets. She can’t stand by and bear witness to the nightmare of seeing this woman wallowing in hunger. So she uses her elongated graceful 6-4 arms to reach in her pocket, take whatever bread she has, and offers to buy Gloria a meal.

The surprised women just looks up at Rayah, smiles and says “Thank you girl, God bless you child.”

Me, E-Woods, I used to teach in South Central. Blessed by my 4th grade Nubian princes and princesses at Weemes, I’m already knowing the struggle.

You ready? To know what makes R-Marshall “The Real Truth?”

It’s not just her death-defying tomahawk dunks, or wet jumper. No, not even her sweet mannerisms. Girl has off-the-charts fashion sense, she got it like that to be a fashion icon like Rihanna.

Rayah reminds me of Nipsey’s partner Lauren London who portrayed Erin “New New” Garner in the movie ATL. Rayah has her own dope oversized “Rayah” gold earnings hanging from her lobes, she’s the new New New. 100.

What impresses me most about Rayah is knowing she will take the shoes off her feet and literally give them to a fellow classmate whose kicks are falling apart. Rayah just wants kids to feel a lil more dignity in their day.

I’ll let her mom Latonya Marshall, who works in the care giving industry, explain, “I carried Rayah in my belly and prayed she’d care for others. Rayah phones me every so often and asks, ‘Mom, can I please buy these size 4 shoes?‘ But you wear size 11 I told her.

“She goes on to tell me about this kid who only has socks to wear. ‘My classmate needs shoes more than I do.’ Rayah will just show up at a convalescent home to share giggles with the elderly.

“God answered my prayers on her unique level of giving. I gave her the middle name Unique hoping she would be a vision of giving, and she is.”

To know Rayah is to love her dearly. Now do you see why she’s twice as good a person as she is a generational talent?

I’ll never know why females don’t get props like guys do in basketball. If you heard of a 16 year old that was a 7-0 foot guard, strong like Zion Williamson with a 60 inch vertical, do you think that boy would be appreciated?

That’s Rayah in the girl form.

Women basketball appreciates her. Rayah is too humble to brag on it but she recently was named The Press Telegram Player of the Year and was a Top 5 All USA-Today Player candidate.

She did something historic when she garnered athletic scholarship offers from programs like Arizona, UCLA, UCONN, and Oregon among many others at a very young age, younger than any other girl prospect has ever done in the past!

ESPN says this of Rayah, “Her game is coast-to-coast in transition; she gets respect to the arc; brings a Candace Parker-type versatility.”

Maybe Rayah skipped crawling and just went straight to dunking out her crib!

I used to pray for times like this, that maybe I’d meet another prep kid that blows me away like Russell Westbrook or James Harden did. Listening to Rayah play ball, her game sings like Paul Pierce played, to rhyme like this.

Rayah reminds me of Paul Pierce who I was blessed to interview in ‘04. Girl reminds me of Double P more than any of the 2,000 kids I’ve interviewed in my 47 years on earth.

Which ballers does Rayah look up to most? “I strive to have the all-around skills of a Kevin Durant, the heart of a champ like Paul Pierce, the power of Lebron James. I hope to impact the game like Diana Taurasi of course, I’m proud to play for her team. I just try to be intense like Kobe Bryant, he’s magnificent.”

Inspiration hit me last week and I call my guy Jason Crowe. A dope overseas baller himself, he’s P-Pierce’s childhood friend, they’re like brothers. Jason is great people just like his father who was the Inglewood HS principal in the 90’s.

Jason helps run The Truth AAU hoop program along with my guy DeAnthony Langston. I ask Jason, “What should a youngster do to be like Paul?”

He gave me this criteria, “Be like Paul? Hmm, give everything to the game, be fully committed, not just have great talent, but strive to make everyone around you better. Inspire people, care about the streets you grew up on, so much is needed.”

I agreed with Jason and asked him, “What do you think of our girl Rayah at Lynwood? You know of her, as you coach boys hoop over there.” He told me, “She’s the hardest working player on campus, dedicated and gives it her all, develops in the weight room. She’s dunking all the time and has this great attitude.”

I told J-Crowe, “Rayah is Lady Truth, she’s THE ONE bro.”

#roll with J-Crowe, rep The Truth

How did P-Pierce get his “Truth” nickname? Shaquille O’Neal called a reporter over in 2001 and told him to write down and publish that Pierce is “The MF Truth.” Me, E-Woods, I felt such pride to give UCLA’s Jordan Canada the nickname of being called “Lady Killer.”

So go see Rayah for yourself. I bet you’ll get chills when seeing her compete. Look into Rayah’s eyes like I have, you’ll see Paul Pierce’s caring heart, fierce determination, and will to win, staring right back at you. Real talk.

Hang with Rayah enough, her charm melts you like a chocolate Hersey’s bar on a hot South Central day. Her friends tell me if they’re having a bad day they’ll just call her because she has this Unique ability to lift up your mood. There goes her middle name at work again.

When I talk to Rayah her positivism just wafts in the air. Talking to her is like having Alicia Keys singing just to you. I was telling Rayah how I used hang out with my guy DeMar DeRozan when he was her age. He dreamed to have a shoe line of his own, like Rayah does now.

Rayah hopes to own some Virgil Abloh’s Off White, cold AF Carolina Blue 1s. I told her, “Girl, you remind me of Virgil, he deconstructs shoes.”

Maybe she’ll have a Kobe A.D. P.E. mid shoe line, like DeMar does now. But for right now Bred Air Jordan 1’s in her closet are just fine. Girl knows her kicks like my guy Bol Bol, no doubt.

How does this girl play, E-Woods?

Watching R-Marshall drive to the rack, she has “jelly fam rolls” to the rim, crazy shot-altering defense, the opposition dares not come in for a lay-up. R also has a post game and turn around jump hooks.

Her soul speaks, “I was on my grind and now I got what I deserve, got it because you haters pushed me to get it.” Rayah nice wit it, has guard handles at 6-4. I have no words to describe what she represents, an evolution like Magic was in ‘79?

Imagine now in 19’, like the 7-0 foot prep player Evan Mobley of Compton Magic, him leading the fast break. Rayah’s fans just “oooh and aaah” when she separates from defenders on her step back 3 pointers. She gets respect out to the arc, like anyone could block this girl’s shot?

One recent weekend at The Mamba Academy, a teammate shot up a ball on the rim. It rolled around the hoop, round and round it went. Then poooof, Rayah jumped up to pull the rim all the freaking way down as the ball went down the net. Vince Carter, finger to the neck over!

Our whole crowd locked arms, held each other back, gasping, all looking at each other like, “What did we just see, girl pulled down the rim, on a near putback!”

#that’s what’s up

Rayah for opposing teams is the epitome of a “problem.” My girl from Sierra Canyon, Vanessa De Jesus of Cal Storm who is committed to play for Duke, is (like Meek Mill might say) like an Aston Martin riding to the rim (y’all thought it was rented?), Rayah by her side is Flexin, pulling shot triggers like she’s Popeye on some spinach.

It’s breathtaking to see Rayah bang-out and dunk with power. It just gives me the chills, even more than the time my guy DeMar DeRozan dunked from nearly the free throw line in 8th grade, putting the ball in-between his legs mid-air on our AAU team.

I was blessed to coach DeMar a lil bit back in the day. So really E-Woods, is Rayah that cold blooded? See Rayah’s 6th grade photo for yourself below, Rayah was dunking on a nearly 10 foot rim in 6th grade grade bro. Facts!

#advice? Don’t jump with Rayah

Fans of women basketball deserve a transcendent player like Rayah to popularize their efforts. I hope she starts a clothing line with an inspirational message to heal the world like Josh Christopher has, like my guy Johnny Juzang did in 8th grade.

J-Juzang helped his kid sister study to skip a grade at Harvard Westlake. Brandon Jennings once told me when he was in middle school that he hoped to be in SLAM Magazine. I told B, see in your eyes bro, B you’ll be on the front cover Mag, national player year you will be. I feel the same about Rayah.


Pooh Jeter appreciates Rayah. Pooh is dopest kind of guy you can meet, he founded L.a.c.e.d Clothing, is a former NBA Sac King, Drew League legend, caring mentor dude who helped nurture Russ Westbrook and J-Harden as they grew up hungry make a mark.

Pooh appreciates Rayah, likewise she appreciates him. Rayah hopes to attend Pooh’s next clinic and games this summer, prove herself vs. the likes of uber top 10 prep boy guards guards like my guy Josh Christopher and Dev Askew at those games.

Ask Rayah if she feels any fear, she ready to battle. She’ll tell you,”KEEP ME ON YOUR RADAR, MAN.”

Listen to Rayah’s heart speak, “I had to grind like that to shine like this. See my dreams unfold, nightmares come true.” (Meek Mill)

Let me bless you readers with a convo where Rayah opened up about herself from my questions to her.

What’s your fav food? Fried Chicken of course.

What 3 phrases describe you? Spiritually humble, unstoppable in hope, forever grinding. What does a gym mean to you? It’s like I’m a kid in a candy store.

How’s your life? I don’t have a normal life, my free-time moments are replaced by future vision moments. I’m not complaining, I chose this path.

Your Fav music? Meek Mill, Dreams and Nightmares (referenced above and below).

Which coaches do you appreciate? My first coach was Mr. Williams from my junior high days, he got me to believe in me. Coach Ellis was very helpful to me, and George Quintero of our Team Taurasi, he goes all out to develop me. He’s that guy who helps you max out your own potential, he truly cares for me, cares for all of us.”

Rayah closes her eyes at bedtime, puts a hair tie on her beautiful mane of brown hair before departing to sleep at night, stuck between sleep and death, who are cousins, to muster the energy to move mountains the next day. She doesn’t just hear Meek Mill lyrics, she feels them in her slumber. Meek, speak on how Rayah dreams of getting cream?

Of what we started, lil' nig** but I'm lionhearted. They love me when I was stuck and hated when I was departed.

#Rayah is ESPN’s top 3 player in 2021

Rayah is an angel on earth, at one time she wanted to be a nurse. Her sweet grandma Linda Bell they loved each other so, squeezing and kissing each others’ cheeks. She’s gone now but would be so proud of Rayah now.

Little 5th grade Rayah took care of her G-ma, through the chemotherapy, trying to ease her pain from the stomach cancer. Maybe if Rayah hadn’t lost her first patient, she would’ve been a nurse.

Now? She’s on a mission to help as many people as she can, dedicated to her grandma’s memory, that way of honoring LINDA BELL, UNIQUE’s grandma. 110.

Somebody tell me why Rayah is not #1 on recruiting sites? Those talent evaluators value Maryland’s Azzi Fudd, who has a ready made jumper and is a 5-10 soph. My talent eval instincts tell me they should’ve made Rayah the #1 rated player.

Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t ranked high in the 2013 NBA draft, so maybe being slighted will motivate Rayah. But let me ask, how do the Cleveland Cavs feel about selecting Anthony Bennett 1st and missing out on The Greek Freak as the 15th pick? Feel me?

#don’t sleep on making Rayah top rated

Cool peoples is phenom Oakland Soldiers prep dunker Bradley Ezewiro (Bishop Montgomery). He texts with Rayah, sharing tips on how to bang out proper slams. Read our feature on Bradley: Click here

How much does E-Woods truly appreciate Rayah? I have this extra jersey from our SLAM AAU in 04’ and I gave it to Rayah. I wish I could rub a magic lamp and have my wish granted and see her take on our squad in 04’.

I promised legendary SLAM writers Scoop Jackson and Ryan Jones I’d find kids that embodied the spirit of SLAM Magazine to rep the threads, rep the game, to respect the game. I’m so proud to hear SLAM Mag just made an ALL American girls team. I told Rayah that dudes like SLAM editor and chief Adam Figman are “real ones.” He has respect for females, and has this in his Twitter to promote WSLAM:

#It’s fresh, check it out for yourself

Females don’t get enough props in hoops. It’s like Ice Cube said, “Either they don't know, don't show, or don't care about what's going on in the hood.”

Who does care?: the best female legendary trainers in this world to seek out. George Quintero, Keion Kindred, Olin Simplis, and George Albanez. MJ had Tim Grover, these dudes are the Mt. Rushmore of women’s basketball on terra firma. Period.

When Rayah gets to really know you, really trust you, lets you into her world, it’s magical. She’ll tell you “Please, KEEP ME ON YOUR RADAR.” - Rayah Unique Marshall

If only you could see how Rayah interacts with her adorable lil sister Briah, a 5th grader. I was chilling with her family at the LA Women’s Drew last summer during Drew playoffs. You can tell Rayah’s baby sis doesn’t just look up and just see a hoop star, she sees her big sis as an angel to her.

These girls bless each other by putting down the phone devices, spending quality time together, doing school work together, appreciating sisterhood together. Rayah is also close to her older brothers, Lee and Rayvon as well.

Her cousin Noelle started Rayah off playing hoop at 95th St school in 2nd grade vs. boys that tried their hardest to beat her. They tried to put Rayah In the back of the paddy wagon, cuffs locked on wrists.

Silly rabbit, no stopping The Lady Truth, then or now. She decided early on it was time to marry the game and she said, “Yeah, I do."

Wanna hear the quote to end all quotes? Feel the love of the coach who nurtured WNBA All Star Chelsea Gray and legion upon legion of other female ballers: Rayah’s AAU coach George Quintero, director of Cal Storm, Team Taurasi, and the director of The Mamba Academy.

He eloquently said this, “Rayah, she is a ray of light and she shines on all of us. From the moment I saw her I knew I wanted to provide her with the opportunity to shine. She is an absolute gym rat.

“During our initial conversation I knew that this was a caring, self-driven young athlete who knew her goals, knew how she was going to achieve them, appreciated the opportunity to showcase her talents on the national stage. Rayah fears no one. She is the truth and wants to raise her game to the ultimate level.”

It was love, love for the game that Rayah gave herself up to long ago. It’s magical, like she ‘bout that Rollie when it first touched her wrist, had her feeling a dope rush to her brain. Her smarts, she carries a 3.3 GPA taking challenging classes, because she realizes that academics will take her to college.

Her mom reminds her hoop is only the cherry on top, Unique can’t wait to be attending college, she’s an old soul.

Rayah’s visions take her there to her future right now. Ask her yourself, she’ll tell you, “I’m here, but racing toward my dream, I’m blessed with love. I'm gone.”