Former Texas Tech basketball player Justin Gray took to Twitter with a message that seemed aimed at the Red Raiders that Chris Beard left behind when he took the job at Texas.
Gray, who played for the Red Raiders from 2015 to 2018, played for two different head coaches — Tubby Smith and Beard. That means that Gray was on the roster when Smith left the Red Raiders for Memphis. It also makes him uniquely qualified to relate his experience from that transition to the Red Raiders that are about to go through it.
On Twitter, Gray posted a long message about his experience. And it comes on the heels of Beard’s departure, and the decision of Kyler Edwards and Marcus Santos-Silva to enter the transfer portal.
“Feel like speaking on this since I went through a coaching change and similar situation while at Tech,” Gray’s message began. “First and foremost, you are free to pursue and seek other opportunities that you see best fit you, your goals, and ambitions as a player. Nobody can take that right away from you. Before you make that jump and ‘new’ and ‘intriguing’ programs and opportunities, I ask you to take some time to sit and reflect on why you came to Tech in the first place.”
Gray continued, writing about those things that led him to sign with and stay with Tech, and the things that likely led current players to join the program.
“It was because the city Lubbock and Texas Tech University felt like home when you visited. You felt connected immediately with how welcoming/accepting the people of Lubbock were and how comfortable you felt being here. You have people here that will love you for a lifetime and nothing beat that support system! That can’t go unnoticed or taken for granted.”
He then presented them with a choice.
“You have a choice … to stick around through prosperous/rough times and STAY committed to a school to finish what you started and keep progressing the program forward! Or you can leave for a new unknown opportunity.”
Then, Gray wrote about his experience during the transition from Smith to Beard.
“When I committed to Texas Tech, I didn’t commit to a coach, I committed to the school itself. I had every right to leave and transfer to another school, once Coach Tubby decided to leave. But I believed in changing the program and gaining the respect that Tech deserved in basketball and putting the city of Lubbock on the map! This was the true reasons I wanted to hoop here! I know which route I decided to take and I am proud of it! The program ended up flourishing and brought new life to Lubbock that has been missing for a long time. It also brought more attention and attraction for other great players to want to play here in the future.”
Finally, Gray wrapped up by writing about his appreciation for Red Raider Nation.
“Thill this day 3 YEARS after graduating, I have fans constantly hitting me up with how appreciative they are for my contribution in changing the program around. That means the world to me! I can guarantee this though, once you are within that Tech community they will fight like hell to protect and uplift you in the best/worst times on or off the court and that’s priceless.”
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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