Basketball has provided many players great opportunities: travel, fame, education, and awards. Pro basketball player Reshanda Gray is no different, her expertise in the sport allowed her to play on the national and global stage.
The Los Angeles native is going into her third season in the WNBA on a new team. She was traded to the Connecticut Sun from the Atlanta Dream in January. In the offseason, Gray competes overseas in Italy.
Basketball helped Gray transcend from the obstacles she faced in her formative years. She speaks on how playing the sport could help further her education.
“Growing up in the middle of South Central L.A., wealthy wasn’t a thing for us and I wanted to go to college,” Gray said. “What drives me is basketball took me a lot of places that I’d never been, but it also gave me an education that I always wanted as well.”
As Gray began to develop her craft, the accolades soon followed. She became a three-sport athlete at Washington Preparatory High School, running track and playing volleyball along with basketball.
During her sophomore year, Gray averaged 12.7 points and 11.3 rebounds per game; the generals ended that season with a 26-5 record. Gray improved to 19.3 points and 14.9 rebounds per game during her junior, leading Washington to the Marine League title in the 2009-2010 season, according to USA Basketball.
College recruiters took notice, awards and opportunities began pouring in. Gray qualified to be on the under-18 U.S. National Team and earned a gold medal in the FIBA U-18 Americas Championship during the summer of 2010.
Gray became the CIF City Section Player of the Year for the 2009-2010 season and Co-Player of the Year the next season as a senior. In 2011, Gray became a McDonalds All-American.
Her ESPN recruiting profile noted that Gray was a 4-star athlete, she was the No. 8 prospect in the nation at the forward position and No. 22 overall, according to HoopGurlz.
After graduating from high school, Gray took her talents to California, Berkeley. As a freshman, Gray was a member of the Pac-12 All-American team with her efforts coming off the bench. The Golden Bears would clinch a no. 8 seed in the NCAA tournament and reach the second round that year.
Her sophomore year, Gray shot at 51 percent in field goals, earning 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. The Golden Bears stormed through the NCAA tournament that year, reaching the Final Four for the first time in school history.
“It was amazing,” Gray said. “Not everybody can say they played in the Final Four.”
In 2013, she helped team USA win a gold medal in the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, according to Cal Athletics. Gray started in all 34 games during her senior year and ultimately became Pac-12 Player of the Year.
Gray was the 16th overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft, acquired by the Minnesota Lynx. Her teammate, Brittany Boyd, and Gray became the first Cal players to be drafted in the same year.
After playing 10 games with Minnesota, Gray was traded to the Atlanta Dream where she averaged 14.8 minutes, 5.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game that season.
The Dream reached the second round of the 2016 Playoffs, losing to the Chicago Sky 98-108.