By Paul M. Banks
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Gonzaga’s Steven Gray is one of the best pure shooters in the nation, and a possible NBA Draft Choice.
Gray (averaging 13.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, and 3.8 assists apg) is a big reason the Zags find themselves back in the national rankings yet again this year. The 6-5 208 Jr. from Bainbridge, Washington was named West Coast Conference honorable mention last season and WCC all-freshman team the year before. I caught up to him at the United Center after the Bulldogs beat Illinois 85-83 in overtime. Gray was pretty excited to play in “The House that Jordan Built.”
“I don’t get too excited about locations, but growing up this was the place for a lot of us, and the first time you step out on the court, the banners, the court itself- it was all an awesome feeling. And to come out and win here as well just adds to the experience,” Gray said.
MJ had a tremendous influence on a whole generation of college basketball players, but it’s not a Bull, but instead a member of Chicago’s bitter rival who inspires Gray to take his game to the next level.
“I really like watching Richard Hamilton. You know he’s not a great three-point shooter, but he moves so well without the ball and just finds ways, always finding screens, I really like watching how he moves without the ball and try to incorporate that into my game,” Gray said about the Pistons star.
And to get to Rip Hamilton’s level, or to get closer, by getting his game to be “league”, Gray knows what he needs to get cracking on. “Ball-handling it’s always been something…I work on that as much as I can and try to get that tighter,” he stated.
I also asked him what his best strengths are: “My scoring, but I do take a lot of pride in my defense as well, so I’ve drawn tougher guard match-ups, so if I can just do one of those two things better than the guy I’m matched up with I’ll feel better. But I take a lot of pride in my defense.”Follow paulmbanks