This week, I had the opportunity to talk to Lakeland Magic guard Jaire Grayer and ask him a few questions.
Jaire grew up in Flint, Michigan, and basketball was in his blood. His father, Jeff, was the 13th pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1988. He had a nine-year career in the NBA, appearing with five teams. Jaire played three years of high school basketball in Flint before transferring to IMG Academy, one of the most well-known basketball high schools in the country.
Grayer was a three-star prospect out of IMG. He committed to George Mason in 2015 while also having offers from Eastern Michigan, UT Arlington, and Oakland.
Grayer started 103 out of 105 possible games in his four years at George Mason. He put up consistent numbers in his four years at George Mason, averaging 11.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Grayer’s insane athleticism made him a constant offensive threat and a defensive pest.
After four years at George Mason, he decided to transfer to TCU for his graduate season. In his lone season at TCU, Grayer started 27 out of 32 possible games while averaging 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds.
Grayer went undrafted but stayed active in the 2020 season by playing in the Miami Pro Summer League and the TBL. The TBL is short for The Basketball League. It was started in 2018 and has expanded to 30 teams from all around the country.
Grayer was on many NBA teams’ radars. He was selected with the 14th pick in the second round by the Lakeland Magic in the 2021 G League draft.
With the Magic, Grayer has averaged 7.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Here’s the interview:
Q: Why did you decide to transfer to IMG your senior year?
A: I chose to go to IMG to better myself and play tougher competition because at the time Michigan high school basketball wasn’t the best in terms of guard play. Playing the best of the best was what I was looking for. When I was at IMG it was everything I was looking for and I was able to focus on my craft and get better each day while taking care of my schoolwork.
Q: Talk to me about what you did in the year between ending your graduate year at TCU and being drafted by the Lakeland Magic. How were you able to get on the Magic’s radar?
A: At the end of our TCU season the covid pandemic was at an all-time high, so everyone’s season ended abruptly. Once I was done with my classes and basketball obligations I went back to Michigan and got in the gym and worked out when I could during the pandemic. Before the draft, I was on zoom calls and being interviewed by the Orlando Magic because they were interested in drafting me. It didn’t work out that way, so I ended up playing in the TBL on the Flint United team to keep myself in shape and to continue to peruse my dream just taking a longer route to get there. After the Flint United season, I went and played in the Miami Pro Summer League and was also training in Miami. After all of that the NBA G League draft kicked off and the magic ended up selecting me. From there I went to training camp with them got cut and was brought back during the winter showcase where I made my way onto the team.
Q: The NBA often tries out new rules on the G League. Most notably the free throw line rule. Outside of the final two minutes of regulation (including overtime), when a foul occurs that results in a player shooting free throws, that player will attempt one free throw for all of the possible points one could earn. The goal of this rule is to speed up the game. Are you a fan of this rule and are you in favor of the NBA trying out possible rules on the G League?
A: For me personally, I am not a fan of the one free throw rule. It kind of throws my rhythm off in some games but I would understand why they would try rules out in the G League, so I am not against the rule testing for the NBA.
Q: On social media, you have claimed that all you’re asking for is an opportunity. How does the G League serve as the first step in fulfilling that opportunity?
A: The G League definitely gave me that opportunity and allows me to measure up my talent against players that are currently in the NBA and players that have NBA experience. I think that I showed that I can play with these different players that are out there.
Q: Lastly, I wanna talk about your game. What is the strongest part of your game? Also, the NBA G League is a place for development. What part of your game do you want to improve the most while you’re in the G League and how would this skill help you at the NBA level?
A: The best part of my game is my ability to catch and shoot the ball. Although I know my numbers did not reflect that this year, that is one of my strong suits along with being a good defender. I do take pride on the defensive end and being a problem for my opponent. I want to improve my consistency on my shot and I know I have the ability to do it which I have shown in the past, but I want to show that I can do it on this level. I want to be confident enough to show the ability to put the ball on the floor. Defensively, I want to get better at reading situations where I should jump the passing lane and get steals.
Thank you so much to Jaire Grayer for these fantastic responses. I encourage all fans to support their local G League team and try to attend games because the talent there is truly remarkable.