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Illini Interested In Juco Point Guard

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It turns out the 2014 class may not be filled after all.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Last weekend we all felt spurned by Cliff Alexander's hat trick, but the fact is Cliff was never actually a part of the 2014 class, so you can't miss what you never had.

That's not the case for Quentin Snider who decided he wanted to stay home and go to Louisville instead. Well, it appears the Illini may still be adding a point guard to their 2014 class.

Now, I don't know a ton about Josh Gray, but I do have Google, and I found this on him. It turns out Gray decommitted from Florida State just last month, and he's had quite the college basketball tour.

Gray spent his freshman season at Texas Tech in 2012-2013, but he left the team after a 11-20 campaign that saw three different coaches in charge of the program. Billy Gillispie was fired in September, Chris Walker coached the team last season and Tubby Smith was hired in the spring.

Gray will play at Odessa JC this season. He had committed to play for the Seminoles last month.

Gray's traversed an interesting path at the collegiate level. He was originally signed to Mississippi State, but backed out when Rick Stansbury was fired after the 2011-2012 season. Wherever he ends up playing his final two seasons will be the fifth college program that he's been associated with.

Which led me to looking up his stats from his freshman season at Texas Tech, where I learned that Gray averaged 9.3 points per game in 26 minutes as a freshman, but his shooting, well, it left a bit to be desired. He also turned the ball over quite a bit, but he was a freshman, so I don't know how seriously we should take those numbers.

Plus, given the way things went at Texas Tech that season, we probably shouldn't hold anything against him.

But aside from the player he is, I was trying to figure out why John Groce and the Illini would suddenly be interested. I mean, the one benefit of getting neither Snider or Alexander was that the scholarship problem was solved, but bringing in Gray would once again mean we're one scholarship over the limit.

However, I think I understand the reasoning. We won't need Gray next season, just like we wouldn't have needed Snider, with Tracy Abrams, Jaylon Tate, Ahmad Starks and even Aaron Cosby all available at the point. However, in 2015 both Abrams and Starks will be gone, and Cosby isn't really a point guard.

Which means that if the Illini just get a point guard in the 2015 class, in 2015-16, a year in which this team might be ready to really compete in the Big Ten, they won't have an experienced point guard behind Tate.

If they get Josh Gray suddenly they have an experienced journeyman of sorts backing up Tate.

UPDATE

Gray has committed to LSU. Which is probably terrible news for LSU coach Johnny Jones considering everything that's happened to the coaches at Gray's previous schools.

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