College Sports

USC transfer appreciates new start with Coastal

CONWAY - The public debut of Coastal Carolina's Chad Gray started inauspiciously.

The redshirt junior forward, a transfer from South Carolina, was stuffed by the rim on his first attempt in the dunk contest at Coastal's basketball rouser Monday.

"I didn't have my legs with me," Gray said with a smile. "I wanted to show a little something to the fans."

His performance in the dunk contest wasn't spectacular, but he soon flashed the potential that program insiders have been raving about for the past 16 months. During the team's ensuing 15-minute intrasquad scrimmage, the 6-foot-7 Gray showed Chanticleer fans what they can expect from him this season.

Gray knocked down three baskets, one from just inside the 3-point line, one over 6-foot-10 center Jon Pack in the paint and another on a layup, proving that he could be a true inside-outside threat. He was 3-for-5 from the field with one assist and a steal.

"He's very athletic, so it's just him getting used to the flow and the players that he's around," Coastal coach Cliff Ellis said. "He's showed that he's capable of doing that in the short period of time he's been here.

"It's going to take a little time, but it won't take him long."

Gray's length made it difficult for the opposing team - he played with the team's projected starting lineup, which includes forwards Joe Harris and Logan Johnson and guards Dexter Moore and Kierre Greenwood - to create consistent offense in the paint.

Though he averaged just 2.2 points and 7.5 minutes per game as a sophomore with the Gamecocks - Gray left South Carolina after coach Darrin Horn dismissed him for repeated team rules violations - some believe he may be the most dynamic player in the Big South.

"The people here got to see a high-major player, a high-profile athlete," Harris said. "So, it was good for them to be in here and get to know who he is. That way when the game rolls around, they will know who Chad is and the things he can bring to the table."

After his debut, Gray promised to raise the bar in his next public outing on Nov. 13, when the Chants open the season at the College of Charleston.

"I'm ready, so I just want to show what I can do," Gray said. "There's definitely a whole lot more to come."