Since Josh Gray was granted a release from his signed letter of intent by Mississippi State, he's been perhaps the hottest remaining commodity for the class of 2012. For that reason, and because another quality guard would relegate Will Spradling to his rightful position of solid role player off the bench, it was really exciting when the 6-1 point guard from Houston (the Louisiana side) was revealed to have interest in Kansas State.
Sadly, based on my conversation with him yesterday and the hints he's dropped on his Twitter, he's not going to be a Wildcat next season. The worst part is it seems to be not because he'd rather be at Texas Tech — which seems to be his most likely destination at this point — but instead because the K-State coaches weren't interested.
Josh was cool enough to do a brief interview with me via text message (it ended up a little disjointed, so I don't really have a transcript to post, per se) that made it clear he thought he could have been a key part of a very successful Kansas State team. You'll see on his Twitter that he retweeted several supportive comments from K-State fans, and here's what he told me when I asked him "Are you feeling the love from K-State fans and could that influence your decision at all?"
I love the fans they couldn't get any better it's the coach & staff that lost interest I guess because they haven't yet return my call
Coupled with his tweet from last night, it seems fairly safe to say Kansas State has lost its window of opportunity. If you'd like to inflict some emotional pain upon yourself by reading more of what Josh had to say about what could have been, click the jump.
This was my first-ever text message interview, and the thing about texts is that they're generally kept short and questions can be ignored. Obviously, Josh didn't have to answer any of my questions, so really I'm grateful he gave me what he did.
Still, I would have liked to know what he thought of Coach Weber and his motion offense, as well as what his top schools are now and when he might be signing a Letter of Intent. However, I really liked his answer when I asked him about being able to play right away.*
I don't even think like that I know how good I am & how my work ethic is outrageous so I can go wherever & no ima play without a doubt including the dukes north carolina ucla wherever!
*I'm trusting all of you to keep in mind that these are texts from a high school senior and refrain from making any stupid or smartass comments about the fact that he didn't use perfect grammar/punctuation. Don't let me down.
Whether or not this is actually true, I like to see a little swagger from players, especially a point guard. Admittedly, this might have been a problem with Frank, who seemed to see it as his duty to knock freshman (Michael Beasley excluded) down a peg during their first month or two in Manhattan.
I'm sure I wasn't the only one dreaming about another quick guard with scoring ability to join the already impressive backcourt of Rodney McGruder and Angel Rodriguez and see how far the 'Cats could go. When I asked Josh what he thought of how his game would mesh with those two, his answer was short and to the point: "Final 4 team."
As far as point guards go, I guess I'm old-school when I dream of having a guy who looks to pass first and shoot only when needed, a la Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo (though I like my PGs to at least have a doesn't have a jump shot). But in today's AAU culture, we see a lot more guys trying to be Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook, which can turn into a big problem when you don't have anything resembling the scoring ability of Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook.
To be honest, I was a little disappointed when I asked Josh what kind of PG he wanted to be and he replied, "It doesn't matter whatever the coach need me to do." It felt like a little bit of a copout, and it would seem like a waste to make a guy play the type of game that doesn't suit his strengths.
In the end, though, I guess it doesn't matter too much now that K-State doesn't appear to be interested in bringing in a guy rated by some as one of the top 20 point guards in his class. Yes, it's true that the 'Cats don't have a scholarship available, but can you honestly look at the current roster and tell me there's nobody you wouldn't feel bad about releasing? Certain guys could count themselves lucky to remain as a walk-on.
I'm not quite ready to go after Weber and his staff with pitchforks, because it's possible there are things we don't know about Gray and maybe KSU will look really smart if he ends up floundering in obscurity somewhere. But I hope he succeeds, and it's going to be really bittersweet if he lights up Bramlage in a Texas Tech (or any other school) jersey in the next four years.