Josh Gray

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.

Jalen Coleman-Lands cleared to practice

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Jarrod Uthoff #20 of the Iowa Hawkeyes defends against Jalen Coleman-Lands #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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When Illinois takes on Southeast Missouri State in the opener of the 2016-17 season, the Fighting Illini should have it’s starting backcourt out on the floor.

According to Jon Rothstein, Jalen Coleman-Lands has been cleared for all basketball activities. The sophomore two-guard has been recovering from a broken bone in his right hand.

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.

Coleman-Lands will team up with Tracy Abrams, a point guard who was granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing the past two seasons due to injuries.

This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.

The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.

NBC Sports projected Illinois to finish eighth in the Big Ten this season.

Curtis Jones jumps over Tom Crean

Tom Crean
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Indiana held its annual Hoosier Hysteria on Saturday night.

One of the highlights from the team’s dunk contest was when freshman guard Curtis Jones jumped over Indiana head coach Tom Crean.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a newcomer us his coach as a dunk contest prop. Last week, Rawle Alkins cleared Arizona head coach Sean Miller en route to a reverse jam.

Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.

WATCH: Edmond Sumner take off from the foul line

CINCINNATI, OH - FEBRUARY 03:  Edmond Sumner #4 of the Xavier Musketeers dunks the ball during the game against the St. John's Red Storm at Cintas Center on February 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Edmond Sumner is a big reason why Xavier is likely going to be a preseason top-10 team.

On Saturday night, during Musketeer Madness, Sumner won the team’s dunk contest when he took off from the foul line.

Sumner defeated freshmen Tyrique Jones and Quentin Goodin. J.P. Macura, the reigning Big East Sixth Man of the Year, took home the honors last year.

The 6-foot-6 redshirt sophomore is coming off a debut season in which he averaged 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

WATCH: Duke goes crazy for Chase Jeter’s bottle flip

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Chase Jeter #2 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on in the second half against the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The bottle flip has become an international sensation in recent months.

It’s as simple as it sounds: flipping a water bottle in the air, attempting to have it land upright.

Duke sophomore forward Chase Jeter, in front of 9,300-plus fans, successfully pulled off the bottle flip on Saturday night at Duke’s Craziness.

Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.

Auburn to honor Charles Barkley with a statue

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 04:  Former NBA player and commentator Charles Barkley looks on prior to the 2016 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game between the Villanova Wildcats and the North Carolina Tar Heels at NRG Stadium on April 4, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.

The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.

“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”

Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.

His number 34 is retired at Auburn.