You Better Recognize
Rob Gray is tired of hearing about Trae Young. He's tired of hearing how the University of Houston hasn't won an NCAA Tournament game since 1984. He's tired of hearing about Phi Slama Jama. He is here. He is now. And he demands to be recognized.
With Trae Young and his Oklahoma Sooners bowing out of the tournament with a loss in the first round and reports of NBA executives and scouts saying they wouldn't take Young as a lottery pick, the stage was set for another point guard to step up. University of Houston junior Rob Gray seized the moment with a career high 39 points against San Diego State. After San Diego State's Devin Watson nailed a clutch 3 pointer to tie the game with a minute left, Gray calmly walked the ball down the court and knocked down his fourth 3 of the game. Amazingly Watson answered with yet another 3 to tie the game again. Gray was not fazed. It was his night and he was going to take the last shot. He dribbled the clock down and made his move. He did not call for a pick. He was taking his man all the way.
And with that, a reputation is made. He took control of the game on the big stage. He did what he wanted. He created his own destiny and he has the destiny of his team firmly in his grip moving forward.
As for Trae Young? Well the NCAA seemed to figure him out a couple months ago. There is no doubting his talent and maybe when surrounded by better players, he could have the space use that talent off. His draft stock seems to have dropped significantly but that may be a blessing as he will most likely be drafted by a better team.
And as for Phi Slama Jama? With my sincerest apologies to Mr. Gray, I'm not writing about the University of Houston without bring up the 1983 and 1984 NCAA Championships. Michael Young, Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon (Akeem at the time) were unbelievable together. They were the Showtime Lakers of college basketball. They went to the NCAA Championship in 1983, only to lose to Jimmy V (RIP Jimmy, Don't give up, don't ever give up!) on what is still the craziest final play I've ever seen. (Apologies to Chris Webber's uncalled travel and time out call with none left.)
In the 1984 NCAA Championship, the Cougers were there again, this time minus Clyde The Glide, but still featuring Young and Olajuwon. This time they ran into another force of nature, the Patrick Ewing Georgetown Hoyas. It wasn't as dramatic. So let's just appreciate Phi Slama Jama with a little Luchini.