Greg Pryor Jr. had every good intention to play basketball at Southwestern Illinois College, a two-year school.
Then University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach Will Wade began showing interest, invited him for a visit and offered a scholarship to begin playing this fall as a freshman.
"I could see myself playing in the way Coach Wade coaches and see myself in his game plan," said Pryor, a 6-foot-2 guard from Ridgeway High School in Memphis. "I always thought I was good enough to play for a D-1 school, so I chose a great juco school so I could wait for a better offer. When UTC's offer came, I jumped on it because it's a great school."
Unlike all other newcomers to Wade's program -- freshman Anthonee Doyle and Virginia Commonwealth transfer Justin Tuoyo -- Wade had no prior contact and little information about Pryor before accepting the UTC job.
"They did a great job and it was less than in six weeks," Ridgeway coach Wesley Henning said. "They had to hit the ground running and found out a lot about a lot of players and that Greg was a real sleeper."
Other Division I schools that recruited Pryor, according to Henning, included Richmond, Campbell and Austin Peay, but they chose to sign other players before Pryor received academic clearance to play Division I basketball.
"He's young for his grade, so he'll mature and grow here, on and off the court," Wade said. "His best basketball is ahead of him."
Pryor averaged 13 points and five rebounds a game, according to a UTC release, and Henning estimated that he averaged 16 points, five assists and two steals per game while shooting 40 percent or better from the 3-point line.
He earned Best of Preps honors from the Commercial Appeal in Memphis and had the Roadrunners headed toward the state tournament before a scandal surrounding an ineligible player arose, resulting in forfeits and the end of the season.
"I learned that things happen for a reason," Pryor said. "I feel that we should have won the [Class AAA] state championship. But it was just heartbreak."
But his heart has found a home in Chattanooga. Pryor said he expects to return to campus this weekend.
"He played in a pressing system, he can guard the ball, get after it and he's a very good 3-point shooter," Wade said. "He will play point guard for us but can play off the ball."
Contact David Uchiyama at email@example.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...