For the average athlete, moving from a small 1A school to a 3A school in arguably the state's most premier basketball league, takes time to adjust and adapt to the jump in competition. After all, Seattle's Metro League has been stocked with elite hoops talent as far back as anyone can remember, with recent names like Jamal Crawford, Doug Wrenn, Erroll Knight, Nate Robinson, the Stewart twins, Martell Webster and Spencer Hawes populating various rosters of teams in that league. So one shouldn't expect anyone from an obscure 1A program to simply come in and do some outlandish thing like lead the Metro League in something like scoring, right?
Enter 2007 Gonzaga commit Steven Gray, a sophomore at 1A Chimacum and now a junior at Bainbridge High School, a member of the Metro. Not only did the nifty, well-built 6'3" natural scorer lead the league in scoring with over 23ppg, that's two full points more than senior All-American Spencer Hawes, but Gray easily made 1st-team all-Metro League. Remember, this was his first year at this higher level. Next year, barring injury, Steven will almost certainly earn the league's MVP award.
He has just begun.
Many Seattle area Zag fans went to watch Steven play last season. Words used to describe him included "effortless," "fluid," "a natural," "pure scorer," "smooth" and even a reference to Kobe Bryant in how he calmly jab-steps then steps back behind the arc to bury a trey, although nobody is expecting Gray to be Kobe. Known for his scoring ability, both long-range and getting to the rim, his court vision and passing did not go unnoticed. This bodes well for when he enrolls at Gonzaga, because Mark Few loves a combo guard who can run the point or go into scoring-mode as an off-guard.
Speaking of Mark Few and what he saw in Steven last summer that prompted a scholarship offer:
On February 21st, Gonzaga head coach Mark Few ventured to Seattle to watch Steven Gray and his Bainbridge Spartan teammates play in a loser-out Sea-King District playoff game against Metro League rival Chief Sealth. Steven put on a show for his future college coach, scoring a season-high 46 points on 15 of 20 field-goal attempts. Seven of his made shots were from beyond the arc. He also dropped in 9 of 10 free throws and pulled down eight boards. Gray is an incredibly versatile offensive player; during any given game, he'll operate at the point, shift to a spot-up three point-shooter on the wing, then post up in the paint. Defensively, Gray is frequently given the assignment of guarding the opposition's best player, and offensively Gray is routinely the target of double- and triple-teams.
Steven Gray leans in for two more points.
The timing of Steven Gray's arrival at Gonzaga couldn't be better. With Jeremy Pargo and Matt Bouldin, Gray is projected to make it a supremely potent trio of guards for years to come, helping to form a backcourt reminiscent of the high scoring days of Matt Santangelo-Richie Frahm and Dan Dickau-Blake Stepp in Spokane.
Gray will only get better.
Steven must continue to get stronger, and tighten up his overall game, to excel at the elite level of play that GU provides. He will begin by playing for the AAU team Total Package this summer of 2006, then another full year playing against Rainier Beach, O'Dea, Seattle Prep and other Metro powers. With a solid, determined work ethic, it's a safe bet he'll make a sizeable jump between junior and senior years, and give Zag fans something to talk about right from the start of his college career.