Experience Prep Academy founder Patrick Grayson has been very active on the recruiting path.
Grayson, who served as a volunteer assistant under George Pitts at King University in 2015-16, has brought children from as far away as Michigan and Florida to the Johnson City-based graduate program.
According to the website, the program is designed to promote the training, success and visibility of elite basketball. James Jordan is the program’s shining star, playing Division I Kent State. Cameron George, a former star of William Blount High School, is now trying to become a walk-on at ETSU.
Grayson is looking from far and wide to try to get the right players into the program.
“There’s a lot of research and a lot of work outside of basketball,” Grayson said. “He’s talking to people, to coaches across the country, looking at Twitter, Instagram. That’s thousands of hours, like working at King or somewhere else. It’s the same job if I recruited from a university, except we try to get the kids to invest for higher education.
One of those kids in the program is Noah Gwinn, a 6-foot-7 player from Liberty, South Carolina. He plays the 3 and 4 positions. He had a few looks out of high school, but no scholarship offer with an ACT score of 18.
Like others in the program, he strives to improve both academically and athletically.
“We are working to improve our test scores to make ourselves more marketable for colleges,” he said. “This program has helped me to market myself. It has helped me to change my body, to develop myself as a person and as a player. It opened my eyes to how many people here can get out of the bubble you’re in. You have the chance to discover top talent. “
The Experience Prep program last season included Walters State, the Milligan JV team, and top teams like IMG Academy and Oak Hill Academy. Gwinn found it to be a much higher level of competition than he faced in high school.
“People tell you how great you are in high school,” he said. “Then you come here and play against stars every game.”
There were also team bonds as a family. Gwinn especially enjoyed a tournament in Myrtle Beach, which he said was so much fun on and off the field.
Brieydon Gilliam, who played Cherokee and then his senior year at Daniel Boone, recently signed with the program. He’s looking to improve his game by taking on bigger and stronger athletes than those he’s seen on the local prep scene.
“It sounds like a good program where I can continue my dreams,” said Gilliam. “I hope that someday I will play Division I basketball. I’m looking to get faster, better defensively and I’m excited to play against a better level of competition.