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Recruiting on the South Plains | Tampa SG Justin Gray Commits to Texas Tech

Berkeley Prep shooting guard Justin Gray is Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith's first commit to the 2014 recruiting class.


PLAYER: Justin Gray

POSITION: Shooting Guard
HEIGHT: 6’4"
HIGH SCHOOL: Berkeley Prep (Tampa, FL)
VIDEO: Clip 1 | Clip 2
RECRUITING SERVICES: Rivals | Scout N/R | ESPN 80 | 24/7 Sports 85
VTM PROFILE DATE: October 4, 2013

OFFERS | Harvard, S. Florida, Stanford, Texas Tech and UCF

STATS | Last year as a junior, via the Tampa Bay Times, Gray averaged 15 points, 3.1 assists, 2.1 steals, 2.1 blocks and 7.9 rebounds last year and MaxPreps has his career stats, where he had a fabulous sophmore year and averaged over 19 points a game.

THE PLAYER SPEAKS | It’s strange. When recruiting services are competing for eyeballs, one of them, or sometimes two of the, tend to release an article for free. I love competition.

So we get quotes and stories from two different sources, LAJ and RRS and the quotes are pretty similar. Let’s start with one from RRS, where Gray talked about Texas Tech:

"When I visited Texas Tech, I wasn't sure what to expect," the three-star prospect said. "I knew that Tubby Smith was there. I was kind of preparing for the worst. I had no idea what Texas Tech was or what they were about, but as soon as I stepped on campus it was amazing. The campus was beautiful. I kind of just fell in love with it as soon as a I saw it."

Gray talks about how Harvard wasn’t or couldn’t give Gray a full ride scholarship and so he chose Texas Tech. I still can’t believe I got to type that last sentence. Gray also talked about head coach Tubby Smith:

It feels surreal that where I came from to now that I'm about to play for one of the best coaches to coach ever in NCAA history," Gray said. "I'm excited. I can't wait. I'm definitely blessed to be in this position. I feel Coach Tubby is going to turn me into the best player I can be simply because he cares about my skills as well as me as an individual person. He's also very religious. All those things played a part. He's just a great, first-class type guy I wanted to play for.

And from the LAJ, Gray talks about his opportunities at Texas Tech:

"They pretty much told me I have a great chance of coming in and playing a lot of minutes and providing for the team," Gray said. "They want me to be the guy, the face of the rebuilding stage they are in. They know the things I can do now, and I’ll do that plus more, what they add to me through their program. That’s what I wanted."

SCOUTING REPORT | Before I get to any sort of scouting report, I’m going to put this right here. I am so danged excited to get a commit, especially one that’s as solid as Gray is. The things to love is that he was choosing between Texas Tech, Stanford and Harvard. How awesome is that? I commented in DanSwany’s basketball post a couple of weeks ago that I am ready to get this thing going. I’m ready for this program to get back and it’s starts with Gray. And I’ll also add that I’m pretty much beaming at the idea of Smith and his affect on young people. Smith doesn’t strike me as a guy that drops names, but he sure as heck could. Smith sells you on who he is as a person, which is genuine. Smith was inducted into the Kentucky Basketball Hall of Fame a few weekends ago and people in Kentucky still love Smith and what he’s about. You don’t find people in this business that don’t burn bridges when they’re gone, but that’s exactly what Smith has done. I’m getting really excited about all of this and can’t wait to see the current team and where Smith takes this program.

Let’s get to Gray’s game. Gray’s mid-range game is really fantastic and you can tell this is where he’s excelling. The ability to hit the mid-range jumper is a lost art and it’s something that Gray does well. I can’t decide if Gray will be a shooting guard or eventually morph into a small forward. It seems that maybe a small forward would be ideal, unless he can really improve his 3-point percentage, which is in the mid-twenties right now. Still, there’s so much to like about Gray’s film:

Justin, welcome to Texas Tech and Git Your Guns Up!