LA Times profiles Reshanda “Too Tall” Gray

Give this young lady her due. She’s overcome many challenges to become nationally-ranked among high school girls in her sport. In 2007-08, she was on Prep’s JV team as a freshman. Last year on varsity, she blew up. It was the Dec. 12, 2008 game (chronicled on this blog) against Taft that told me and others in the crowd how much she had improved since the spring.

“If it weren’t for basketball, I’d probably be dead or in jail,” Gray says.

Instead, she is well on her way to earning a basketball scholarship.

Gray, who is 6 feet 3, averages 20 points and 15 rebounds for a Washington Prep team that is 19-10 overall and leads the Marine League with a record of 10-1 going into its final game of the regular season Friday evening at Banning. She also has a 3.4 grade-point average — and a growing stack of letters from colleges across the country.

But this is the part that sticks out for me:

“I’ve worked with hundreds of kids,” Dinneen says. “But there was something about her personality, her being happy all of the time through everything, that’s made me take a special interest in her.”

Too Tall is definitely an optimist, and it’s what has made her a great player. Her former teammate at Prep, Mykiea Russell, shared with me in December that Too Tall wasn’t very skilled when she first began playing ball.

“She didn’t have a shot, and her footwork was all wrong,” Russell said. “But she kept saying ‘let’s try it again.'”

Personally, I love young people who are beasts on the court but sweet off of it, and that is Reshanda Gray in a nutshell. It’s one of the reasons I’m a Too Tall fan.

This part of the story also gives some insight as to why Prep was just able to capture the Marine League title, despite going up against teams with twice the amount of players they have:

She has formed sisterly bonds with her teammates, many of whom have endured similar pressures.

Their motto is “hold the rope.”

“If one of us is falling off the cliff, we’ve got to hold the rope and hold each other up,” Gray says.