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

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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.

Report: North Carolina won’t attend White House

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After capturing a national championship earlier this year, the North Carolina men’s basketball team will not be visiting the White House, a North Carolina spokesman said to Andrew Carter of the The Charlotte Observer.

Although the Tar Heels were invited to go to the White House from the staff of President Donald Trump, the team couldn’t figure out a date that worked.

“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” North Carolina team spokesman Steve Kirschner said to Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”

According to Carter’s report, Kirschner also said that North Carolina players, “were fine with going.”

With Trump’s recent comments towards NFL players and the national anthem and his Saturday morning tweet at Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the President with regards to athletes over the past 24 hours.

Although the timing of this may seem like North Carolina is making some sort of political statement, the school is downplaying any sort of politics by focusing on the bad timing.

Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer

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Xavier freshman forward Jared Ridder will transfer from the program to move closer to home, according to a release from the school.

The 6-foot-7 Ridder hails from Springfield, Missouri as he was regarded as a top-150 prospect by Rivals in the Class of 2017.

“After much consideration and talking with my family, I have decided that it is in my best interest to move home,” Ridder said in the release.

“Jared has indicated to the coaching staff that he has a desire to be closer to home,” Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. “While we are disappointed, we all want Jared to be happy moving forward. We wish him nothing but the best.”

A potent scorer and noted perimeter shooter at the high school level, Ridder helped MoKan win the Nike Peach Jam during the summer of 2016 playing alongside talented players like Missouri’s Michael and Jontay Porter and Oklahoma’s Trae Young. With a desire to move closer to home, could Ridder potentially land at a spot where one of his talented former teammates is playing?

Ridder averaged 24.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists during his senior season of high school ball at Kickapoo as he was a first-team, All-State selection in Missouri.

Four-star 2018 forward Ian Steere decommits from Creighton

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Creighton took a big hit to its recruiting efforts late this week as Class of 2018 forward Ian Steere is decommitting from the Bluejays, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Steere’s decommitment was first reported by Julius Kim of Elevate Hoops.

The 6-foot-8 Steere is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals as he is coming off of a very solid spring and summer playing with Team Charlotte in the Under Armour Association. A plus athlete who isn’t afraid to bang on the interior, Steere showing an improving skill level throughout the spring and summer as he could see his recruiting soar after opening things up.

According to a report from Jon Nyatawa of the World-Herald, one of the reasons that Steere is opening up his recruitment is his desire to be closer to his native North Carolina. With so many top programs looking for quality help on the interior, it’ll be interesting to see which programs jump in and try to recruit Steere the second time around.

John Wall emotional in Kentucky Hall of Fame induction speech

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John Wall was inducted into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday night as he delivered an emotional speech while talking to his mother.

The first inductee into the Hall of Fame to play for current Wildcat head coach John Calipari, Wall only spent the 2009-10 season in Lexington but he became the first national player of the year to play at Kentucky before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

Thanking his mother, Calipari, his family, friends and Big Blue Nation, the Washington Wizards guard gave a very moving speech, including an emotional part directed to his mother at around 4:35.

Ohio State snags third 2018 commitment in a week with four-star guard Luther Muhammad

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Ohio State continued a strong week on the recruiting trail on Friday night by landing a commitment from Class of 2018 guard Luther Muhammad.

Regarded as a four-star prospect, the 6-foot-4 Muhammad is a tough and rugged perimeter defender who can attack the basket. Also showing some ability to play on the ball as a secondary handler, Muhammad is a very solid addition to Ohio State’s recruiting class since they need to overhaul their roster under new head coach Chris Holtmann.

Muhammad is the third player to commit to the Buckeyes in the Class of 2018 this week as he joins four-star forward Jaedon LeDee and three-star guard Duane Washington in the current Ohio State recruiting class. Since Washington is a three-point threat and Muhammad is more of an off-the-bounce specialist, the two guards are a good start for Ohio State in this class as they will likely try to find a true floor leader to play with them on the perimeter.