Former Texas Tech guard Josh Gray looking for stability in final college stop

Leave a comment

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Josh Gray’s one season at Texas Tech was an eventful one to say the least.

Before practices even began the head coach who recruited him to Lubbock, Billy Gillispie, was forced to resign. Into his role moved assistant Chris Walker, whose reign came to an end after the Raiders finished their 11-20 (3-15 Big 12) campaign with a loss to Kansas in the Big 12 tournament.

With his two coaches gone Gray made the decision to transfer, ultimately deciding to play a season at Odessa (Texas) JC as opposed to transferring to another Division I school and having to sit out the upcoming season.

This past weekend Gray was one of the many prospects participating in the All-American Juco Showcase Elite 80 West event in Las Vegas, and more than a few of the coaches in attendance arrived with the idea of seeing how the point guard has progressed.

Gray didn’t force the action, choosing instead to set up teammates while picking his spots in which to look for his own looks. The end result was a spot in the event’s Top 20 All-Star Game on Sunday afternoon.

“I think I was pretty solid,” Gray said after his second game of the day on Saturday. “I’m not doing anything spectacular or forcing anything, just letting the game come to me.”

The change from Gillispie/Walker to Tubby Smith was the most recent twist in Gray’s career, as he was a Mississippi State signee until the school fired Rick Stansbury following the completion of the 2011-12 campaign. Those changes have helped to shape Gray’s career to this point, and program stability will be considered when he goes through the process of picking a school for 2014.

“This is my last go-round so I’m looking for a stable university, a university where the coaching staff is going to make me better as a man on and off the court,” said Gray.

When he arrives on a four-year campus next fall Gray will arrive having played a season against some of the best competition in the country thanks to his time at Texas Tech, and that’s one reason why so many coaches are interested in his services even before he’s played a game at Odessa.

When asked about which schools have contacted him recently, Gray mentioned Arizona State, Memphis, Arizona and Cincinnati with the effort being put in by one of the programs sticking out.

“I’d say Memphis,” said Gray when asked which school has recruited him the hardest. “They’ve been recruiting me since high school. That’s the kind of offense I want to play in, and they’ve got a young coach (Josh Pastner) who seems like he’ll be there for a while.

“[Familiarity] plays a big part because I’m looking for a good relationship, and I’m looking for a coach who’s going to be there because every coach I’ve signed with left,” Gray continued. “I signed with Mississippi State: Coach Stansbury left. [At Texas Tech] Coach Gillispie left and Coach Walker left, so I’m looking for a school where the coach is going to be there.”

Josh Gray’s college basketball career hasn’t been as stable as he would like thanks to circumstances beyond his control. But even with that being the case, those experiences could end up making Gray even more valuable down the line.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

Leave a comment

Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averagedย 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

Baylor Athletics
Leave a comment

Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and Iโ€™m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment โ€“ both by our university and by Chris โ€“ allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.