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.