« Men’s Basketball 2018-19

Jaire Grayer

School

George Mason University

Position
Guard
Major
Sport Management

Classroom

Jaire Grayer has made academics a priority during his George Mason career. While majoring in sport management, he has front-loaded his class schedule and taken advantage of summer class opportunities over his first three years. As a result, Grayer is ahead of schedule and will need to take just two classes during his spring semester to graduate.

Two of Grayer’s passions are coaching and working with children. He’s applied those interests into his studies through George Mason’s internship program. This summer, Grayer interned at i9 Sports, a youth league organization in Falls Church, Va. He coached children ages 5-12 and provided hands-on basketball learning, while also gaining valuable experience on the administrative side. That included real-world skill development in the areas of management, marketing and operations. Throughout his time at Mason, he’s been proactive and understood that the extra effort would lead to long-term benefits in the future. It’s that type of life lesson he hopes to pass on to the next generation, whether it’s running his own basketball camps and/or coaching once his playing career is through.

Character

Grayer has an engaging personality and has remained relentlessly positive despite recent adversity. Halfway through his junior season, Grayer sustained a foot injury which hampered him the rest of the year. After shooting 40 percent from three-point range through the first half of the campaign, Grayer battled the injury to play and help his teammates, but shot just 25 percent from deep the rest of the year. Still, he remained upbeat and did everything he could to help his team win. In the offseason, he had a foot procedure that kept him away from basketball for the better part of four months. During some difficult days of rehab and wondering if his basketball ability would ever be the same, Grayer took time to think about the positives in his life. He took to Twitter to thank his mentors, basketball support staff and friends for their support. And during the team’s foreign tour to Spain this summer, Grayer was the team’s biggest cheerleader on the bench, despite not being able to compete.

Off the court, his positive demeanor and smile are infectious. He stays late during autograph sessions to spend time with young fans. He is always warm and inviting with kids when the team reads to elementary school students and was one of three basketball student-athletes to visit with oncology patients at Inova Children’s Hospital in Fairfax this fall. He says during his work with kids in his hometown of Flint, Mich., seeing them smile and have fun is what he enjoys most.

Community

Grayer has a great amount of pride for his hometown of Flint, Michigan. He told the Washington Post in 2016, “Flint is a great city. It builds character, it builds toughness and all the characteristics you need to be strong in life.” Growing up during the water crisis, Grayer could not use the water at his mother’s house and would have to drive out to his father’s just to shower. Those memories and the amount of adversity Flint residents still suffer on a daily basis resonate with Grayer and drive him to give back. Working alongside his father Jeff’s organization–Flint Athletes for a Better Education–Grayer volunteers in the Flint community each summer during his short break from basketball activities.

In 2016 and 2017, Grayer participated in the Fresh Flint Festival, teaching basketball skills to kids while helping educate them on proper water usage. This past summer (2018), Grayer took part in a water drive and distributed bottled water to Flint residents throughout the event. Grayer values the importance of giving back to the next generation. As a kid, he would attend basketball clinics where Michigan State’s national champion “Flintstones”–Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson–would return to mentor kids. Grayer feels that same responsibility and wants to start his own camps. He hopes a career playing professional basketball affords him the resources to do so. This spring, he was recognized for his service with a spot on the 2018 NABC Give Back Team.

Competition

Grayer has proved critical in turning around a George Mason program picked 13th in the A-10 when he entered his freshman season. Grayer started 31 of 32 games as a freshman and averaged 9.5 points, marking the fifth-highest scoring output by a Mason freshman in the past 20 seasons. As a sophomore, he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds and shot 38.3 percent from three-point range while helping the Patriots win 20 games for the first time in five seasons. The Patriots ranked as one of the top-20 most-improved teams in the nation in 2016-17, as Mason won 11 contests the season before.

As a junior, the 6-foot-5 guard led the Patriots in rebounding (7.3 rpg) and ranked second in scoring (12.3 ppg), while helping the Green & Gold claim their highest-ever finish (5th) in their Atlantic 10 tenure. Heading into his senior season, Grayer has started 96 of 98 career games and ranks in the top-5 in school history in 3-pointers made. He is likely to end his career in a number of the school’s top-10 statistical categories after reaching the 1,000 career point milestone during his junior season. After being picked 13th in the A-10 heading into that first season, the Patriots are now picked fourth for his 2018-19 senior campaign.

*All stats as of nomination time.