Pearland’s Grays commits to UNC
Pearland senior forward RyLee Grays verbally committed to the University of North Carolina on June 19.
Grays, a 6-foor-3 rangy post ranked No. 93 nationally by ESPN, picked the Tar Heels over N.C. State, Texas, Baylor, Florida and Mississippi.
Both of Grays’ parents played basketball at Saint Louis University. Now their daughter will join them as a Division I talent.
“It was the coaching staff and family environment,” Grays said. “I also really loved North Carolina. I loved the state. They were pretty much in front the whole time. It’s a relief to know where I’m going and it’s nice to focus on what classes I need to take and what I need to work on.”
She knew UNC was the place for her when she met with players during her official visit earlier this month. Grays, a four-star recruit, joins an impressive 2023 class for the Tar Heels that includes two five-star commits.
Grays wants to study media and communications in college. She said the recruiting process has been overwhelming but fun.
“I’ve met a lot of cool and amazing people,” she said. “That was probably the best part. I’m such a people person, and meeting everyone and hearing their stories was really fun. Telling people I wasn’t going to their school was so hard, especially after building relationships with these people.”
Grays averaged 17.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and two steals per game in leading the Oilers to the Class 6A regional finals last season. It was her first year at Pearland after transferring from The Village School, where she was an all-state talent her freshman and sophomore seasons and won a TAPPS 6A state title.
“I really think the move was good for my career,” said Grays, whose scoring improved by seven points per game despite playing stronger competition with the Oilers. “I was able to put myself more in a scoring position. I was more comfortable handling the ball against pressure. Things like that.”
Grays showed an ability to be more than just an athletic rim-running big. She showcased strong ballhandling skills. She was moved around on offense and able to set teammates up with her passing ability.
Next season, Grays wants to show off an improved perimeter shot that she’s been working on tirelessly this summer. She would like more opportunities to initiate offense and to evolve even more as a scorer.
“I’m just excited to see how far we’ll go. I think we’ll be really good again this year,” Grays said. “What made us successful was defense. It was amazing. It flowed well all year, and we had a lot of people willing to play defense. I think it’ll be good for us again this year because we have a lot of length.”