Grayer excited to be back at Iowa State

Cyclone Sports Report talks with Jeff Grayer on why he chose to return to Iowa State as an assistant coach and what he hopes he can bring to Coach McDermott's staff.

Cyclone Sports Report: What does it feel like to be back at Iowa State as an assistant coach?

Coach Grayer: It's a great feeling and I'm honored to come back to contribute to the university in this capacity. I have a lot of pride in Iowa State and I really look forward to the challenge.

Cyclone Sports Report: Have you always wanted to coach?

Coach Grayer: Yeah, I always envisioned coaching at some level when I was growing up. I have been able to get some solid experience at the high school level and coaching the Flint franchise in the CBA. I always had an AAU program in Flint so I've been able to gain a decent amount of experience in coaching.

Cyclone Sports Report: What was your relationship like with Coach McDermott before you guys started discussing the assistant coaching position?

Coach Grayer: Our paths crossed a little when he was first hired. I called him to congratulate him and we had some conversations early on in his tenure. The thing that really opened up our relationship was the tragedy with Barry (Stevens). He really opened his arms and we got to know to each other a lot better.

Cyclone Sports Report: How did things come together in you getting hired for this position?

Coach Grayer: When the situation identified an opening with the coaching staff I put in a call and he tried to call me. We played phone tag until eventually we got in contact and things just went from there and then he offered me the position.

Cyclone Sports Report: What will your role be on the staff?

Coach Grayer: The first thing is getting the players to understand the rich history of basketball we have here at Iowa State. I will be making sure that everyone focus just as hard in practice as they would in a game. I also will be mentoring them in regards to academics to make sure that they are here to be a student-athlete.

Cyclone Sports Report: You had a great career at Iowa State that led to both professional and Olympic basketball experiences. What do you take from these that you can bring to the program as a coach?

Coach Grayer: I'm going to bring it all. I'm going to be teaching them positioning and just bringing as much knowledge as I possibly can during practice. I also want to teach them how to have patience at times and just bring a level of high energy to practice so that they will always show a lot of intensity.

Cyclone Sports Report: You mentioned that have had an experience with an AAU program in Michigan. How important will that experience be for you in recruiting?

Coach Grayer: It will definitely help because of some of the relationships that I have already developed. I know I can tap into those guys and also have them put in a word with some of the coaches that I don't already know. I have to say that I miss the days when it was just high school coaches that players dealt with because they were almost always just looking out for the player. Some of the AAU coaches are not always thinking about the best interests of the players.

Cyclone Sports Report: Some assistant coaches have to sell a school that they never attended. How much of a factor will that be in recruiting that you actually were a student-athlete at Iowa State?

Coach Grayer: It will help tremendously because that's what I can start with when I'm talking to a player or his parents. I can elaborate and give examples of how great a university Iowa State is because I went there and I know about Carver Hall and Beardshear and just knowing the history of the basketball program will help a lot.

Cyclone Sports Report: What is something that you learned from your head coach at Iowa State, Johnny Orr, that you will bring with you as a coach?

Coach Grayer: I can pump my fists really well (he laughs), so will be helpful. No, I'm just kidding because Coach Orr was great and I loved playing in his up tempo style. The thing that I will try to do as a coach that he did so well was maximize our talent. When I played at Iowa State we didn't have dominant seven-footers but he was able to maximize the talent in my game and players like Sam Hill. So I'm going to work to try and do that as much as possible.

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