January 2, 2007 - by
Angel Gray Is Right Where She Belongs

Jan. 2, 2007

Angel Gray says that her name is a good representation of who she is… an angel. At least that’s what her family thinks.

“Of course,” Gray said. “It’s a family thing. My family just loves me. They just can’t get enough of me.”

Off of the court, however, is a whole other story. She’s not so angelic in a basketball uniform.

“I’m a girly-girl off of the floor, but on the floor, I’m kind of the opposite,” Gray said. “On the floor, I’m very aggressive. I’m passionate about the game. I like to rebound. I like to be on the floor a lot and I’m willing to sacrifice my body to play good defense and do what’s best for the team.”

It’s a good thing that Gray likes to be on the floor because at more than 19 minutes of action per game, she is seeing the most playing time of all FSU’s freshmen. Because of her aggressiveness, she’s also fifth on the team in free throw attempts.

The most interesting thing, though, when it comes to Gray is that she almost didn’t see the court in a Florida State uniform at all. Heavily recruited by the Seminoles, Gray signed with Indiana of the Big Ten where her older sister Nadine, a versatile athlete who played her college ball at James Madison, was an assistant coach.

“The decision was extremely hard,” Gray said, “because Florida State was my number one school from the very beginning. I wanted to go there when I first got my letter from them. But my older sister is my best friend and I promised her that if she was at a big school, I would follow her. Even though I really didn’t want to, I really felt as though I had to keep my promise.”

As fate would have it, last April, Nadine, and the rest of the Indiana women’s basketball staff, moved on to coach at Purdue, also a member of the Big Ten and because of league rules, a player from one Big Ten team can’t transfer to play at another Big Ten school.

“For some reason, God works in mysterious ways and it kind of worked out to a point where I couldn’t even follow her (Nadine) to Purdue when she got that job and it was like a no-brainer,” Gray said. “When they said if you could go anywhere else, where would you go? Of course it was FSU.”

Although Gray knew she wanted Florida State, she wasn’t sure Florida State still wanted her and still had any available scholarships. She cried all night because if she couldn’t go to Florida State, she didn’t know what she was going to do.

“I woke up the next day and I was so miserable,” Gray said. “In the car on the way to school that day, I told my mom what I wanted to do was go to Florida State and we prayed about it. When she picked me up from school that day, she told me she had talked with Coach (Angie) Johnson and that she said they’d love for me to come to Florida State.”

Gray, and the rest of the freshmen, wasted no time trying to get acclimated to college life. The trio came to Tallahassee and enrolled in summer school. It didn’t take long for Gray to feel right at home.

“I actually called my dad during summer school and said `Dad, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. This is the perfect fit for me. The coaches are great and are like my friends. I can go to them and they can be like motivators and mentors for me as I get older,'” Gray said.

Gray’s parents were also comfortable with having their daughter at Florida State because her mother, Cheri, went to Florida A&M and knows the area well.

“It’s pretty funny because she comes down here and I learn something new about Tallahassee every time,” Gray said. “If fact, where I’m living right now, she had lived across the street. Not only is my mom comfortable with me being in Tallahassee, but she’s comfortable because she loves the coaches. When they were recruiting me, they just didn’t talk to me about basketball but about personal things. It seemed like they wanted me as a person as much as they did as a basketball player.”

So while Gray doesn’t play college basketball for her sister, she plays the game because of her sister.

“That’s one big thing about our family, we’re very passionate about getting the job done, getting the rebound or getting the extra possession for our team,” Gray said. “Nadine was a very big role model. When I used to go see her play at James Madison, I was always so excited and it really made me know that I wanted to play in college after seeing the whole atmosphere and everything.”

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