Berkeley Prep (FL) star Justin Gray became the first commit of the Tubby Smith era at Texas Tech on Thursday.
The 6-foot-5, 180-pound wing announced his commitment to the Red Raiders on Thursday morning via Twitter, “I am blessed to say that I have committed to Texas Tech University! God is great! #Gunsup #Big12 #TubbyTime”
Gray chose Tech over offers from Central Florida, Harvard, Kansas State and Stanford. He said he made up his mind Wednesday night after talking it over with his family and is happy with his choice.
"Before I went to sleep I was like I want to be a Red Raider, I want to go to Texas Tech, I want to spend the next four years of my life at Texas Tech and I know I'm going to be happy at Texas Tech," Gray said. "So this morning I verbally committed and definitely do not regret doing that, so I'm super-ecstatic about the decision I made."
The three-star prospect said he really felt wanted by Smith and the rest of the Tech coaching staff and that made all the difference in his decision. Gray added his visit to Lubbock last month all but sealed the deal.
"I really wasn't sure what to expect with Texas Tech, because I really hadn't ever heard anything about it. The only thing I knew was coach Smith and his coaching staff, so I was preparing for the worst," Gray said. "As soon as I stepped on campus, I was like wow, it was probably one of the nicest campuses I've ever seen, the people were great and open and the team treated me like I was already on the team. That family environment was definitely what I wanted."
Gray also said he liked the academics at Tech as he plans on studying pre-med to eventually become an orthopedic surgeon or specialist.
"You get a lot on the court from him, but you get even more off the court," Berkeley Prep basketball coach Bobby Reinhart said. "His work effort is great, he's a fine young man, a great student and he comes from a great family. So, there is a good reason he's had the success he has."
Gray said he was first contacted by the Red Raiders last summer after Smith and assistant coach Joe Esposito saw him play in AAU tournaments in Georgia during an open recruiting period.
According to Gray, Esposito was there to see one of his teammates, but Gray grabbed hs attention with a 30-plus point effort, including the game-winning shot. The next day Smith showed up to see Gray and called him later that night.
"I almost dropped my phone because I couldn't believe Tubby Smith was actually calling me; I was just so shocked," Gray said. "I ran into my dad's room and said, 'Tubby Smith is on the phone and he said he likes my game, he wants to recruit me, he wants me.' My dad asked me if I was serious."
Gray added his recruitment by Tech took off from there and he appreciated the multiple pieces of mail, texts and calls from the staff.
"Just to know that they wanted to know how I was doing, it really surprised me just how much they cared about me and how much they wanted me," Gray added.