ARCANUM – Former Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Commissioner Dave Gray, an Arcanum native stands fifth on the all-time scoring list for all divisions of ‘State Tournament Individual Game Scoring Records’ for Ohio boys basketball tournament play and stands alone at the top as the all-time rebound leader.
“I had good teammates that got me the ball,” said Gray. “It was a day when one of my teammates wasn’t playing so well so they had to come to me a little bit more often. I was just blessed to have a really good day.”
“The bottom line was, we needed to win the game because we had to get to the next day, the final and that was the big thing,” Gray continued. “It was one of those days. I think I only missed a couple of shots all day. It was exciting, that was for sure.”
Former Ohio State Buckeye and NBA standouts, Jerry Lucas and Clark Kellogg own three of the top four scoring records. Middletown’s Jerry Lucas holds 1st place with 53 points against Cleveland East Tech in 1956 and 4th place with 46 points scored against Toledo Macomber in 1957.
Clark Kellogg, playing for Cleveland St. Joseph holds the No. 2 spot with 51 points against Columbus East from 1979.
Upper Sandusky’s Jon Diebler comes in at third with 48 points scored against Dayton Dunbar in 2007.
Arcanum’s Dave Gray rounds out the top five games with a 45 point 1969 game against Portsmouth Clay.
Known for his scoring, Gray holds the All-Time rebound record in OHSAA State Tournament play.
“I was as proud of that (rebounding record at state) as I was of scoring because that was my job…to get in there and get on the board,” Gray stated. “I had 20 some each game…40 some boards in two games.”
Gray, a four year starter for the Arcanum basketball team played on the 1967 state runner-up squad and led the Trojans to the 1969 State Championship game in an 84-59 win over Bridgeport to close out the season with a 25-2 record.
The 1969 championship team, coached by Richard Graeff had a starting five of Dave Gray and Steve Christ both listed at 6’6” while Jim Troutwine and Frank Cheadle each stood 6’1” and Gary Riegle came in at 5’11”; a tall team for the 60s.
“They are all still around the Arcanum area,” Gray said of his teammates. “Every once in a while we see each other. “It’s just a great time lying to each other and remembering…we did have it or didn’t have it.”
“He was very special,” Gray said of his high school coach Richard Graeff. “Dick Graff; a lot of people didn’t know basically was a football player when he came to Arcanum and got started in with basketball.”
“He was such a great gentleman,” noted Gray. “He was always so personable with people and that was part of his thing, but when it came to getting things done…he got it done. You wanted to play hard for Coach Graeff.”
After graduation from Arcanum, Gray went on to start all four years at Earlham College and still holds many school season and career records while averaging 20 points and nearly 12 rebounds per game good for a double-double over four years of play.
Standing 6’6”, Gray was the tallest player on his Earlham team but never slammed a dunk or hit a three-pointer as neither were in play in that era of high school and college ball.
“I didn’t shoot many from the three point line…there was no three point shot,” said Gray. “My grandson asks me about slam dunking…how many dunks did you have?”
“Dunk was illegal at the time when I was in high school and that was all through my college playing days,” added Gray. “There was no slam dunking…no three point basket.”
Gray had opportunities to go on and play DI college ball but chose Earlham due to a college rule at the time that did not permit college freshmen to start.
“I was the tallest guy on the team and that is one of the reasons I went there,” Gray shared. “I had some D-I offers but at that time, if you went D-I you could not start your freshman year. You had to sit back at that time but the NAIA, which Earlham was at that time gave full scholarships.”
“I got a scholarship but I could also start and I thought I don’t want to go someplace and sit on the bench…never sat on the bench ever in basketball. I don’t want to do that now and he (Earlham Coach Del Harris) told me you come here you can play in the middle. That’s where I wanted to play with my back to the basket which I thought was my strength. That worked out very well.”
Dave’s son Jim Gray followed in his father’s footsteps playing for some good Trojans basketball teams from 1991-94.
“I played in the 90s,” said son Jim Gray. “John Stephens our Superintendent (Arcanum) was on my team, he was our guard. Jeremy Pemberton who went on to play at Findlay was on our team. We had a good team.”
“We used to joke that I was going to try to beat his (father’s) record but I never did. I’m still known as Dave’s boy…now I’m known as the bald one,” Jim said with a chuckle. “It was always kind of a tradition in our family…we grew up with basketball.”
“I went all over the state with him with OHSAA and we talked a lot,” Jim pointed out. “He was a good mentor to me growing up and he was very positive. It was looked at as a challenge to play in his footsteps. I always wanted to try make mom and dad proud because I knew he had such a great career.”
Gray took time to reflect on his career, his success and shared some pointers for today’s athletes.
“You’ve got to work hard and in the offseason…that’s the key to basketball,” said Gray. “Not just during the months when you are playing games. You’ve got to work.”
“I’ve told my grandson (Carter Gray / Arcanum class of 2020) numerous times…you’ve got to put in an hour or two a day in the summers. We used to go up…this is way back when, before you really had open gym per say, and we would go up…all of us Monday through Thursday night and we would meet up at the gym in the summer. We would play for a couple hours almost every night.”
“At that time we didn’t have any supervisor. We would go over and get the keys from Coach Graeff and then we would get in there. The open doors were to West at that time of the school and I remember him telling us…he’d say, ‘don’t open the door, don’t open the door…don’t let people know you are in there. We would go in and play and give the keys back to him. It would be 110 degrees in that gym but we were all dedicated and wanted to get better.”
“You’ve got to play in the off season and the other thing is you just have to have the passion for the game,” added Gray. “I love the game and I played baseball and was in track and after school I played some golf but basketball was the passion. You have to have that passion and if you have the passion and the ability to work and you have some God given ability, you have a really good combination.”
While at Earlham, former NBA coach Del Harris was Gray’s basketball coach. After coaching nine years at Earlham, Harris served as a head coach for the Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers as well as an assistant coach for New Jersey Nets, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets.
“Just a great guy.” Gray said of Harris. “I learned so much basketball from him. He did tweak my shot a little bit when I got there but it was just a thing of…you play hard, you work hard, you’re going to get to start here, you’re going to get to play. He told me that before-hand, so all those things came true and we had an exceptional group of guys over there too. We made it to the National Finals of the NAIA. That was a great experience.”
Dave Gray – Earlham Season Records:
Free Throws: 194 1969-1970
Rebounds: 362 1971-1972
Dave Gray – Earlham Career Records:
Games Played: 116 1969-1973
Games Started: 116 1969-1973
Points: 2,323 1969-1973
Field Goals: 839 1969-1973
Free Throws: 645 1969-1973
Rebounds: 1,375 1969-1973
Contact Darke County Media Sports Editor Gaylen Blosser at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-548-3330