Now that September is here, we can look forward to new prospects invading prep school campuses throughout New England over the next few weeks. That means open gyms packed with college coaches and players from across the globe looking to earn offers against the best prep competition in America!
It's a great time to get familiar with some of New England's Best New Prospects for the '19-'20 season. Over next few weeks, The Hustle will feature one of the region's talented newcomers every day.......
In early-April, the PSA Cardinals were playing in The Battle 4 The Apple tournament at the House of Sports, located just outside of NYC. Most of the programs in attendance use the weekend as an opportunity to gauge their team’s strengths-&-weaknesses as they kick off a long grassroots schedule. Few -if any- definitive statements really get made.
But that is where and when Josh Gray decided to make something abundantly clear to anyone who was willing to listen: I’m 100% healthy and I’m ready to produce!
Wherever athletic 6’11” big men are catching lob passes outside of the lane and violently hammering them through the rim, it’s a guarantee that high-major coaches aren’t too far behind. When the big man can also rebound at a high rate and protect the rim, those same high-major coaches can’t offer him a scholarship fast enough.
Gray flashed all of those abilities when coaches had opportunities to catch him live over the last four months. While his offensive skillset admittedly remains raw, Gray was able to make his presence felt during the 2019 EYBL season by using his rare blend of size and athleticism. He was wildly efficient in the post, shooting 63% from the field while averaging 4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 15 minutes per game.
His final stat line may have been modest but the glimpses that Gray showed were more than enough to earn him offers from programs like Georgia, LSU, UConn, Florida State, Rutgers and St. John’s this summer.
In ’19-‘20, Gray will look to carve out a bigger role and turn his vast potential into consistent high-level production at Putnam Science, a program known for their development of big men.
The Hustle caught up with Gray at his new home in Connecticut’s “Quiet Corner” where he hopes to make an impact that it can be heard by high-major programs from across the country this season….
Josh, describe your game in a few words for someone who hasn't seen you play…
JG: Versatile, athletic, tough big man.
What are some of the things that led you to Putnam Science this year?
JG: Hassan (Diarra) did a great job recruiting me during the AAU season. First, he told me about Putnam’s history of developing big men and that he needed one to win another National Championship. Then, Coach Espinosa and Coach Scraba told me that there’s no reason I couldn’t become the next great Putnam Science big man if I was willing to put the work in. I was sold.
Which parts of your skillset are you going to focus on improving the most over the next year?
JG: I have to start knocking down my foul shots, that’s a must. My ball-handling skills and my jumper are other areas that I’m going to be focused on. I want to become a skilled big man, not just a big man. I also want to become a better student of the game.
What are your goals for this season?
JG: WIN! The goal from Day 1 will be to win the National Prep Championship and there’s no reason why we can’t do that. Personally, I’d like to get leaner, get into the best shape of my life, strengthen my core and maybe even get some abs.
Are you looking forward to anything in particular this season, like playing against a certain team or player?
JG: No, not really. Anybody who’s wearing a different jersey on the court is just an obstacle standing in our way to a win, in my opinion. I definitely look forward to building a brotherhood with my guys and running over any team that stands in our way.
What are some of the most important things you’ll be looking for in a college program?
JG: It has to be a program with a winning culture and a coaching staff that I can trust. Once I realize which programs have my best interests in mind and have a good plan that will help me reach my potential, it will be all about fit.
When do you plan on making your college decision?
JG: I’ve seen guys on social media with timelines for trimming their list or specific dates for their commitment but that’s not my style. I want to take my time, gather as much information as possible and make a confident, rock solid decision when the time is right. There’s no reason to put a timetable on it and stress myself. I want to enjoy the whole process and make the right decision, not a rushed decision.
I like it bro....You can't go wrong by waiting until the time is right!