JEREMIAH Gray is another proof that when one door closes, a window opens.
Two years ago, the Filipino-American guard paid a visit to his mother’s land of birth and had a chance to become Ateneo’s latest prized US-raised recruit. But he had yet to get his hands on his Philippine passport. Besides, he had to undergo a two-year residency before becoming eligible only this year.
“I was supposed to go, but my papers weren’t done yet,” Gray admitted in a chat with SPIN.ph. “So I didn’t want to sit out for two years.”
The versatile 6-foot-4 cager, who spent his first two years of eligibility at Moorepark College, decided instead to return to the US and transferred to Dominican University of California.
It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Gray made the most of his two-year stint with the NCAA Division II school, capping it off with averages of 18.9 points on 33.8-percent shooting from deep in 34 minutes in 27 games, while breaking Dominican’s single-season scoring record with 509 points in his last year.
The solid finish to his collegiate career paved the way for two immediate professional stints, the first in the Thai Basketball League then in Luxembourg last year.
Gray, who can play either guard spot as well as the small forward position, admitted he still entertains “what ifs” regarding his potential stint with the Blue Eagles especially after seeing them win back-to-back UAAP championships.
But the 22-year-old cager has no regrets overall.
“Sometimes I wish I could go back, but I’m glad I made the decisions I made, and I’m here now,” Gray beamed.
After all, he gets to do this time what was denied him two years ago – playing for a Philippine team in Mighty Sports in the upcoming Dubai International Tournament.
Through his uncle, Anton, Gray made contact with Mighty Sports coach Charles Tiu, who gave him a shot.
“He’s a very athletic guy, good shooter, medyo kulang pa sa diin maglaro kasi bata pa eh,” Tiu said.
Gray lists Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and James Harden as his NBA idols, refused to compare himself to any of the players he looks up to. Rather, he aims to carve out his own name that others can someday look up to.
“I would just say I wanna be myself,” Gray said. “I wanna be the best version of myself I could be. I have my own type of game, so hopefully one day, someone could compare themselves to me and say they play like Jeremiah Gray.”
Gray gets to showcase his wares in Dubai where he teams up with fellow Fil-Am recruit Roosevelt Adams as well as imports Lamar Odom and Justin Brownlee in trying to help Mighty atone for a dismal one-win performance two years ago.
After that, Gray wants to do what he couldn’t two years ago.
“I do have plans of staying here,” he said. “I’m just waiting to hear what offers come my way and see if I like them, but I do plan on staying here.”
“PBA would be ideal, but ABL would be cool,” he concluded.