Rudy Carlton Gay Jr. was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Rae and Rudy Sr. He began playing competitive recreational basketball in his hometown of Baltimore when he was 12 years old. Gay attended Eastern Technical High School in Essex, Maryland, for two years before transferring to Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn, Maryland, during his junior year. He played basketball for Spalding for two years, earning first team All-Baltimore Catholic League honors as a junior and senior. During his senior year, Gay averaged 21.2 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. He was named the Baltimore Sun's co-player of the year, the Washington Post All-Met Basketball Player of the Year, a McDonald's All-American and a Parade first-team All-American. Since joining the NBA, Gay has taken part in a number of charitable activities. In 2010, he was named an ambassador for the Hoops for St. Jude fundraising program for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. Gay donated $20,000 to the program, which raised funds by allowing donors to pledge a set amount of money for each point scored by Gay and other participating NBA players. As a result of his actions, Gay was awarded the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for March of 2010. That resulted in a $5,000 donation from the NBA to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Gay kicked in another $22,222 of his own money. Gay also founded the Flight 22 Foundation in his hometown of Baltimore, with the aim to serve "as the runway to helping school-aged children in under served communities take flight." Learn more about Gay by following him on Twitter (@RudyGay) and on Instagram (@rudygay). Gay led the University of Connecticut in points (15.2) and steals (1.8) per game while checking in second on the team in assists (2.1) and third in rebounds (6.4) during the 2005-06 season. The Baltimore, Maryland native earned All-Big East First Team honors on the strength of those accomplishments, which came in what was his sophomore campaign. He led the Huskies to the Elite Eight in the 2006 NCAA Tournament before losing to George Mason in overtime. Gay was named to the 2005-06 All-America Second Team. In his 2004-05 freshman year, Gay collected the Big East Rookie of the Year award after averaging 11.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Gay announced that he would enter the 2006 NBA Draft after his sophomore year. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the eighth overall pick and then was traded a couple days later to the Memphis Grizzlies.