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Joel Osborne

Joel Osborne writes

Posted Wednesday, September 5th 2018

Gray reflects on college career at Texas Tech

Justin Gray has revealed all about his college career at Texas Tech University in his first interview as a Bristol Flyers player.

The 22-year-old put pen to paper on his first professional contract over the summer, after helping the Red Raiders to the ‘Elite 8’ of the NCAA Tournament last season.

Also know as ‘March Madness', the NCAA Tournament has become one of the most famous annual sporting events in the United States.

"I can’t explain it, playing in the NCAA Tournament is everything that you dream of as a kid,’ Gray told Bristol Flyers TV.

"I grew up watching that tournament on TV and pretty much everything during that month just shuts down.

"The tournament takes priority over every professional league there is - so just being a part of that and being able to go far and being the first team to do that in school history was a special moment and it’s something I will never forget."

Gray averaged 7.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 24 minutes per game during his four year college career, but it was his efforts on the defensive end that he quickly became known for.

The 6ft5in guard would often be given the task of guarding the opposition’s best player, giving him a key role in a deep Red Raiders squad.

But when his team needed him to score, Gray turned up his aggressiveness and it showed in a historic win against then number ten ranked Kansas at Allen Field House.

Gray scored the first eight points of the game, sparking an 8-2 run, which allowed Texas Tech to earn a 85-73 victory, in which Gray scored 12 points, securing one of his six double-digit games of the season.

Justin Gray's former team-mate, Niem Stevenson will play for the Leicester Riders this season. (Credit Peter Simmons)
Texas Tech will have a strong presence in the British Basketball League this season, as Gray’s former college team-mate Niem Stevenson also signed his first professional contract with the defending league champions, Leicester Riders over the summer.

"I call him (Niem Stevenson) every day. He's literally my brother and I am so glad that he was able to join the BBL as well,” Gray added.

"Leicester is only a couple of hours away from here, so it will be great to see him when I get some free time. I am really proud that we are both in this situation and I know that he is really enjoying Leicester.

“He’s talking a little trash about when his team face ours, but I can’t wait - it’ll be a great game.

"We talk about it all the time. We’ll likely be guarding each other too so we are definitely going to compete and get after it. I know that both of us will try and win it for our team."
Gray and Stevenson will match up against each other three times during the regular season, with the first meeting set to take place on Friday, November 16th at the SGS College Arena.

Having arrived in Bristol early last week, Gray has quickly settled into life in the UK.

Bristol is a beautiful city, I've been out into the city centre and I am loving every second of it.

"Everyone has been genuine and nice and I am getting along with my team-mates and meeting everybody for the first time so, so far so good.

"I am still getting used to the language a little bit, but so far it’s been fun and I am having a great time.

"It’s always been my dream to play professionally. Bristol Flyers definitely provided me with a wonderful opportunity to get started; to get my feet wet over here in Europe and play professionally in the top league in the UK. I am excited to play along my teammates under Coach Andreas and ready to get things started."

Watch Justin Gray make his Bristol Flyers debut against USA Select on Thursday, September 6th (7.30pm tip-off) at the SGS College Arena.

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