On Saturday May 16, 2015, it was a special day for a talented young man. Grayson Boucher is also known as "The Professor". He wears #12 on his BallUP Streetball uniform. He now lives in Los Angeles and doesn't get a chance to come visit the place he was raised in - the Salem/Keizer, Oregon area. At Hattawear, which is located at the Reed Opera House, Grayson held a meet and greet and an in-store signing, 12:00-1:00 p.m. for all of his family and fans. Oh, and the best part, this humble young man gave away free signed cards.
"It was a blessing to be able to interact firsthand with such strong supporters of mine in Salem today. I loved every second of it. Big thank you to Luke Hess and Hattawear for being gracious enough to host and promote the signing," Grayson said.
Grayson is the son of Steve and Molly Boucher. He also has a brother, Landon. The first time he touched a basketball as a toddler was when his dad bought him a Larry Bird hoop. Grayson fell in love with basketball and had a difficult time focusing on anything else. His parents tried signing him up for many other activities, but he always went back to basketball.
One of the obstacles he had to overcome was his small frame and height. Grayson was always one of the shortest and skinniest kids playing on any team. But there was something about him that was different from other basketball players - his flashy style of play and his ball-handling skills.
Discipline basketball was too slow for his pace - he'd rather run the court, shoot 3-point shots, and throw a behind-the-back pass. His free-throws were automatic and they still are.
Grayson - The Professor Boucher attended Gubser Elementary School, Whiteaker Middle School, and McNary High School in Keizer, Oregon. He then transferred from McNary to Salem Academy, a private Christian high school. At Salem Academy he blossomed into an elite all-state player that led his team to the state playoffs.
College basketball was much more competitive and the guys were a lot bigger. Grayson was a little nervous at first, but that changed real quick when he gained his confidence - he realized he could definitely battle with the big boys. At the time he was only 5' 8". He played for ChemeketaCommunity College one year and was planning on returning the following year as an improved player on every level of the game.
In 2003 he found out about an open run that the And 1 Mixtape Tour was holding in Portland, Oregon. He and his brother, Landon drove to Portland. There were many ballers trying out showing their ball-handling styles, fancy passes, and sharp shooting. The winner selected would earn a spot on the tour. An ESPN TV series called Streetball was being aired weekly. If Grayson was selected, he would join the tour, he would be one of the players on the show. He was selected! After many city stops the tour would come to an end. It was like the American Idol of basketball. The last player standing would win a contract with And 1. Grayson won that contract!
After a six-year run the show ended and by 2011 no contract was offered to any of the players - Grayson left And 1 with several other players. In 2012, Grayson joined BallUP Streetball, a company based out of Los Angeles, California. BallUP Streetball signed a deal with Fox Sports to air ten TV episodes beginning with a celebrity all-start game. A new adventure began for the Professor.
He joined talented streetballers like Air Up There, Bone Collector, AO, Sik Wit It, the late Escalade (RIP), Springs, Violator, Special FX, Mr. Afrika, and Pat the Rock. The entertaining squad currently tours all over the world - The Professor is a huge hit wherever he plays.
The Professor has added a new adventure. Not knowing all the details of how he started all of this, I'll say that everyone is having a blast with his six episodes of Youtube videos he stars in ... Spiderman Basketball. His hard work of true action while in a Spiderman uniform is mesmerizing. How does he do that!
The hometown visit was a success. I showed up right at 12:00 noon and I saw several people standing around waiting. Many kids had their basketballs ready to be autographed by The Professor. A few minutes later in walks The Professor with a camera crew following him. It was a pleasure seeing him again and it was very exciting watching all of his fans lined up for their chance to take a picture and receive an autograph.
Grayson, God bless you for taking the time to talk to everyone that showed up at your in-store signing. And thank you Hattawear for the use of your store - it was a blast!
A few years ago my son and I traveled to LA to hang out with Grayson. On a two-day stay I interviewed him for a featured story about his life and what inspired him to choose his path. His full-detailed story is remarkable. Please order the book ... The Professor Grayson Boucher Plus More NW Sports Stories. You will enjoy reading about what he has been through. His success is not something that came easy ... he worked very hard - trust me.