Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Gray, an attackman headed to Boston University to play NCAA Division 1 lacrosse next year. To be considered for a feature article, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In early July, Chris Gray went airborne as he dove for a goal in the 2017 Under Armour All-America lacrosse game. During the replay, lacrosse analyst Paul Carcaterra praised Chris for his creative dodge and decision-making ability. Just a few months earlier, the #8 2017 Recruit was named a US Lacrosse All-American for the 2nd straight year, leading his team to a Long Island championship appearance. Today, Gray is at the top of the lacrosse world, but just a few years ago, he was a relatively unknown lacrosse player on JV with no ranking.
— Inside Lacrosse (@Inside_Lacrosse) July 2, 2017
Chris grew up in Shoreham-Wading River, a small town in Long Island with a rich lacrosse history. The high school program has a winning tradition, with several blue-chip players going on to win NCAA championships, like Tim Rotanz for Maryland. As a kid, Chris picked up multiple sports including baseball, football, and soccer. “I always remember complaining about baseball being too slow. One day, I saw my brother playing lacrosse. I went outside and picked up the stick and absolutely loved it.”
After playing JV lacrosse as an eighth grader, Chris went on to high school with the expectation of making the Varsity team as a freshman. Due to unusual circumstances, Gray did not make the Varsity squad and played another year of JV. “I put a lot of time and work in after that to make sure it would not happen the next year.” With a chip on his shoulder, Chris starting working out with a personal trainer who helped to elevate his fitness to the next level. The following year, he quietly committed to the brand-new Division 1 lacrosse program at Boston University under head coach Ryan Polley. Still at Shoreham-Wading River, Chris made the Varsity team as a sophomore and led his team with 79 points. Despite an outstanding year, Chris did not appear on any sort of rankings list.
During his junior season, everything would change. During his second season on Varsity, Chris had a breakout season that gave him national recognition. He led all of Long Island in points and was recognized as a US Lacrosse All-American. Despite a flood of attention and awards, Chris credited his teammates and coaching staff for his success. “That [junior] season was all my teammates and coaching staff. We had a great team that year, and it’s a big shoutout to them for the work they did.”
After being unranked for his first few years, longtime high school lacrosse analyst Ty Xanders ranked Chris the #8 overall 2017 recruit. “I was driving when all of a sudden, I got a bunch of texts congratulating me. When I got home, I didn’t know what was going on. I checked Twitter and saw the list with my picture on it. I was pretty pumped.”
Following his breakout season and top 10 ranking, several big-time D1 schools came calling. In a culture where lacrosse players are constantly decommitting from their previous schools to commit to another program, Gray has maintained his commitment to Boston University. “I developed a close relationship with coach Polley and the whole coaching staff. Between them coming out for my football and lacrosse games and calling to check in on me, I’ve always felt close to the staff and the school. I knew immediately when I got on campus that this is where I wanted to be.”
All in all, Chris has a mature understanding of the game and plays for more than just himself. He relies on support from his close friends and family, who have helped him become an elite and versatile attackman. His biggest role model is his older brother, who has always shown him love and support throughout his career. “It’s important to be a good lacrosse player, but it’s more important to be a better person. I try to use that as my motto.”
In the fall, Chris will head to Boston and compete immediately for a starting spot on a team that graduated a huge group of seniors. Dubbed a “transformational recruit” by Ty Xanders, Chris Gray could certainly be the catalyst that propels Boston University to a top lacrosse program.