Grayson Boucher might seem to be an ordinary name from an ordinary 5-10 man from Oregon. It just so happens that the name belongs to The Professor, who is widely known as one of the best streetball players in the world. He was featured on the “AND1 Mixtape Tour” tour for several years before going to Ball Up in 2011.
The Professor is constantly putting on a show for the audience by using a combo of moves that makes even the very best defender shutter with fear of being the next victim. The Professor is now 29 years old and is now living in Los Angeles, and while he appeared in a cameo role in Semi-Pro and played a prominent role in a movie called Ball Don’t Lie (which is still waiting to be distributed), ‘Fess will firstly always be a baller.
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Dime: What is the biggest difference between Ball Up and AND1?
The Professor: So, basically, with AND1 the main entity of the company was the clothing. With Ball Up the main entity of the company is the actual tour. AND1, and this is my personal opinion, the tour eventually outgrew the clothing at one point and they were still using it as a marketing thing. Ball Up came in and wanted to clean up on some things where AND1 was making mistakes.
Dime: What is the focus of Ball Up?
TP: With Ball Up, when you come to a game it is more visually entertaining and it is more set up and catered to a live TV event.
Dime: How many tours have you done?
TP: It’s our second nationwide tour but it is our third tour overall.
Dime: You mentioned social media being important to you; want to talk about the “Spider-Man video” a little?
TP: My friend Rob came up with the idea, he’s actually a videographer who does concerts and certain things of that nature. We were talking about how to build and get more views to our YouTube channels when we realized the audiences I was reaching. My videos only hit basketball audiences and flashy basketball audiences so it was certain niches I was hitting. I wanted something that could go mainstream or go viral. He thought of the idea of dressing up as a superhero and maybe wear a mask. I took it to the next level and figured I’d wear the full costume without taking off the mask and upload it to the channel.
Dime: So you had no inspiration from “Uncle Drew?”
TP: No. It’s funny because I see the parallels but I didn’t even think about it at the time. A lot of people thought we took the idea from Andrew Garfield, the guy who plays “The Amazing Spider-Man” but we was just playing with a kid and not making the moves I was making.
Dime: You got to play with Allen Iverson, a player you grew up idolizing. How was that experience?
TP: It was an awesome experience. He was a cool guy and showed us streetball players a lot of love. He told us that we were both mutual fans of each other and that I’m his son’s favorite player. I just thought that was incredible. I used to look up to A.I. in high school so to find out he was a mutual fan and that I was his son’s favorite player was crazy.
Dime: Who do you think is the best ballhandler in the NBA right now?
TP: It’s hard to say. There are a lot of great ballhandlers in the NBA but not a lot of players with a streetball kind of game. A guy with incredible handles is Chris Paul. I would say, though, that Jamal Crawford is the most exciting to watch, in regards to anticipating his moves. He probably isn’t as efficient with the ball as other players but he’s just tight to watch because you never know what he’s going to do with the ball.
Dime: You obviously have quite the array of moves, what’s your favorite one right now?
TP: I actually am liking these couple of new moves, but I don’t want to publish them yet. I would say the one I’ve been doing a lot the past couple of weeks is the “baseline behind the back” move. It’s similar to the move that Kyle Watson used in “Above the Rim.”
Dime: So how do you do it?
TP: What I did, which I think makes it more effective, is when I’m on the wing I’ll act as if I’m attacking the basket. I’ll try to drive by my opponent but I allow him to think that he cuts me off somewhere near the baseline, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be right on the baseline. So I’ll turn my back to him and dribble behind my back. When I cross behind my back I want him to think that I’m restarting the offense but really, once the ball reaches my other hand, I go back toward the hoop again and it usually leaves the defender a couple steps behind me.
Dime: Any others?
TP: Let’s do this one called the “In ‘n’ Out, Behind-the-Back Snatch Back.” I made a couple of people fall on that move because I do the “In ‘n’ Out” so close to them that it really forces them to make a decision. When I go behind my back, I do it right at their shoulder so when I come running at you full speed you either have to cut off the move or the move just works and I can go right by you. I force them to make a choice, which tends to be to cut off the move. That’s when I can go behind my back, right at your shoulders and pull it back real fast. The ball actually goes behind the defender’s back for a split second and I think the fact that it’s behind the defender when you pull it back is kind of confusing. The defender thinks he has to take a step or two back to cut you off when really the ball is coming back to me at that point, which messes with their equilibrium.
Dime: How do you come up with your moves?
TP: Honestly, a lot of the moves I have I took from somebody else and took what they did and remixed it. I think that’s what all basketball players do, you know? I’ve been a real student of the game for a while and taking what players did and incorporating my own spin on it. Part of it is applying the moves after figuring out how a player reacts when they guard you. So I have certain moves for when they try to send me left, certain moves when they force me right, or when they sag off you just shoot the jumper.
Dime: Did you do anything that helped as a child?
TP: I had a dribbling trainer who started working me out in fifth grade and was way ahead of his time. Rodney helped me a lot, but I just played a lot of 1-on-1. I think just repeating how to get kids off balance, figuring out what moves worked and using deception in your eyes were all things that helped me.
Dime: Have you ever considered doing tutorials?
TP: Yeah, definitely. I have an iPhone app that does streetball moves from a step-by-step perspective but it’s a bit watered down. I actually have a bunch of moves on deck but am just figuring out if I should release them via download on my website or to just put them out on YouTube. Ideally for me I’d like to do a major DVD with my top moves.
Is the Professor one of the best ballhandlers in mainstream basketball?
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