The Professor – Throwback Thursday

Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem, DC, ATL, Chi-Town…

…Salem, Oregon?

If you weren’t sure just how far streetball culture has reached, the proof is in the Professor. Born and raised in Salem, Grayson Boucher came up farther from the Rucker than any other player featured on an AND1 Mix Tape (yeah, we looked it up), and never has there been a less likely streetballing success. As a 5’8”, 105-pound high schooler with what a local paper called “blinding ball-handling skills” but a still-suspect jumper, Boucher didn’t get a minute of varsity burn until his junior year. Not exactly the pedigree of a streetball legend, but his Chemeketa Community College coach, David Abderhalden, foreshadowed what was to come for the yet-to-be-nicknamed Professor: “What he lacks in size he makes up for with intelligence.”

Gray’s game always had a little flair, and when a friend showed him the AND1 Mix Tape Vol. 2, he knew he’d found his calling. Professor never stopped studying those Mix Tapes, and in June of ’03 he took some bona fide ballers to school. With the AND1 Mix Tape Tour in Portland at the Memorial Coliseum, Gray brought his jaw-dropping arsenal first to the blacktop, then in the arena against the AND1 team, and finally, after draining a buzzer-beater to defeat the Mix Tape Team at Madison Square Garden in August, as the first local player to win a permanent spot on the Tour.

Lonnie Harrell (aka Prime Objective) offered Professor perhaps the highest praise a fellow streetballer can give: “He was doing stuff we’d never seen before.” Like showing that anyone – and we do mean anyone – can ball.