Every year the Suns G League affiliate, Northern Arizona Suns, hold an open-community tryout for basketball hopefuls to have one last shot of living out their dream. Josh Gray was one of many who paid $150 for the small chance of making the roster. Clearly, he stood out.
“I did like three to four G League tryouts. I did one in L.A., I did one in Austin, one here,” Gray said. “I had to pay and travel and all that.”
Although it had to come out of his own pocket, Gray knew he had to bet on himself in order for a team to give him one last chance.
“I had a terrible career at LSU,” Gray said. “So most people closed the door and cut me out. So that’s why I had to go through that type of process to get back to where I want to be. So that’s why I did open tryouts just to prove myself.”
This season, Gray has averaged 17.9 points, 5.8 assists, 4 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game with the NAZ Suns. He has also proved to be a three-point threat shooting 43.5 percent from deep.
After the Suns lost Isaiah Canaan with a left ankle fracture, they looked to their G-League affiliate and more specifically Gray for help.
“I got a phone call from Ryan [McDonough],” Gray said. “It’s kind of surreal. I kind of still don’t believe it that I’m actually in the NBA right now.”
In his first game in a Phoenix Suns uniform, Gray took the most of his opportunity and hit almost every spot of the stat sheet. He scored seven points with a rebound, an assist, a steal, a block and a three all within just nine minutes.
“This was the goal,” Gray said. “This was the vision. I prayed so much. I worked so hard and I’ve been through a lot and that’s why it’s more rewarding to me. I’m just happy to be here. I’m grateful and I’m going to maximize the opportunity.”
Head Coach Jay Triano has liked what he has seen so far from Gray and said he will have a chance to play significant minutes with Devin Booker sidelined with a hip injury.
“He’s got an ability to score and get passed defenders and get into the lane, which are positives for us,” Triano said about Gray. “We need guys to be able to break guys down and get in the paint and see if they can either make plays or finish at the bucket.”
As the Suns face the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night, Gray will have a chance to continue his incredible journey and make the most of his opportunity.
“I’m ready,” Gray said. “I’m locked in and focused and I’m ready to go out there and show the world what I can do.”