College notebook: Change of scenery works for Polytech grad Gray

Things are definitely different for Juwan Gray these days.

About 3,000 miles different.

The last time the former Polytech High basketball standout played for real, he was in San Diego.

Juwan Gray

Now, however, the 6-foot-8 junior forward is at Towson, just a couple-hours drive from his hometown of Dover.

“It’s different,” Gray joked about the change of scenery. “Mostly the weather. Where I was at before it was about 70 degrees and sunny. I’ve got to get used to the cold again.”

Basketball, on the other hand, seems to be going just fine for Gray. He’s come off the bench to play in all 18 games for Towson, averaging 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds.

After sitting out last year after transferring from San Diego, Gray debuted by netting a career-high 19 points in a season-opening win over George Washington. He’s reached double figures five times, including scoring 13 in a win over Delaware last Saturday.

But Gray said scoring isn’t the only thing he tries to contribute when he gets on the court. He’s averaging 22 minutes per game.

“My energy and defense — defense, I pride myself on that every game,” said Gray. “I feel like I can be one of the best defenders in the league. And I feel like if my defense is good, it can carry over to the offensive end.

“Whatever it takes for my team to win. If there’s games I need to score then I’ll score. I just like having a well-balanced game all-around.”

So far, Gray’s stat averages are higher than they were in his last season at San Diego. And, the weather aside, he said it’s great to be able to have his mom, Renee, come to see him play.

Towson comes to Newark to face the Blue Hens again on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.

“My mom and girlfriend come to every game,” said Gray. “It’s nice to have a support system to watch you play.

“I’m enjoying it a lot here. Coach (Pat) Skerry, he’s giving me a lot of trust and a lot of confidence.”

Wesley count on Braxton

The Wesley College men’s basketball team has players who regularly put up big scoring numbers.

But Wolverines’ coach Dean Burrows said it’s senior forward Terrence Braxton who regularly puts up some of his favorite stat lines.

Terrence Braxton

Like the Caesar Rodney High grad recently had a game where he didn’t score but collected 14 rebounds and six assists. In another one, Braxton had 13 points, four rebounds and four assists.

“Terrence averages 34 minutes per game while guarding our opponent’s best offensive threat every night,” said Burrows. “That’s how one gets on the floor and stays on the floor. More young players need to know this reality and truth.”

First-place Wesley (3-0 AEC, 9-7 overall) takes a four-game winning streak into today’s 3 p.m. home game against Marywood (0-2, 5-10).

Long break for DSU

Due to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference’s unbalanced schedule this year, both the Delaware State men and women’s basketball team will go 12 days in between games.

The Hornets’ next contests are not until Jan. 25, essentially giving them a bye week this weekend while the rest of the conference is in action.

And they both have different views on the long layoff.

For women’s coach Dave Caputo, the break comes as the Hornets were hitting their stride. They began conference play 2-0 for the first time in 10 years and were tied with preseason MEAC favorite North Carolina A&T at halftime on Monday.

“For me, it’s a bad thing,” Caputo said. “I really want to keep playing. We don’t need that much time off. We’re going to bring in the practice guys and do a lot of scrimmages. We need to stay in game shape. I don’t want to lose that during these two weeks.”

But for the men, the mid-season break a chance to get healthy.

The Hornets (2-14 overall) are still welcoming Fahim Jenneto back into the fold after he missed the first two months of the year with an eye injury. Guard Pinky Wiley is battling a shoulder issue while another starting guard, L.J. Stansbury, played the first 2:47 on Monday but then did not return with an apparent injury.

“It’s a good thing because we have to get healed up,” said DSU men’s coach Eric Skeeters. “We’ve got guys banged up who’ve got to get back in the training room. We’ve got to get back on the grind, get back in the gym and keep repeating good practices together.”

Notes

• Former Delmar High field hockey standout Ashlyn Carr, a freshman at Delaware has been named to the U.S. U-21 Junior National Squad. She was chosen from a pool of about 60 players.

Ultimately, the team is preparing for the Junior Pan American Championship that will take place in Santiago, Chile from Nov. 30-Dec. 13.

• Delaware State junior Tre Johnson, from Smyrna, earned the MEAC Field Athlete of the Week award last week. Johnson won the triple jump at the HBCU Battle this past weekend and currently ranks second in the MEAC with a distance of 14.99 meters (49-feet-2.25-inches).

Ian Robertson, a Cape Henlopen High product, has started 13 of 15 games for the Randolph-Macon basketball team this season and is averaging 8.1 points per game.

Aniah Patterson (St. Thomas More) is a freshman on the Chowan University women’s basketball team. She has played in 15 games, scoring in double figures four times with a high of 17.

Corey Corbin, a Woodbridge High grad, is averaging 13.9 points per game for Webber International, an NAIA basketball program in Florida. Corbin has a season-high of 29 points in a single game.

• One thing that would really help the Delaware men’s basketball team right now is keeping Justyn Mutts on the floor. The sophomore forward has fouled out seven times in 19 games.

Mutts also went from scoring 22 points or more four times in the Blue Hens’ 9-0 start to six points or less in four of UD’s last five games.

“I do think his foul trouble has hurt us, it really has,” said coach Martin Ingelsby, whose team hosts Elon today at 2 p.m. “He makes such an impact on that (offensive) eend of the floor.”