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Grayer, Jeff

Published onAug 13, 2021
Grayer, Jeff

(December 17, 1965 — )

Quick Facts

During his time at Iowa State as one of the most prolific scorers, Olympian Grayer developed a basketball game that garnered respect from around the country.


As one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the Iowa State Men’s Basketball program, Jeff Grayer certainly left his mark at Iowa State University. During his time at Iowa State, Grayer developed a game that garnered respect from around the country, especially in the Big Eight Conference. From 1985 to 1988, Grayer amassed an Iowa State record 2,502 points, a record that has yet to be broken (as of 2018). Following his storied career and senior season, he was named an All-American. This honor added to his already impressive accomplishment of being named to the all-Big Eight three times.

Grayer was born in 1965. Prior to arriving and making his mark at Iowa State, Grayer grew up in Flint, Michigan where he made a name for himself. Among the reasons Grayer chose Iowa State was the influence of fellow Flint-native and Iowa State great Barry Stevens. Despite a bit of a culture shock, Grayer grew to appreciate Ames, Iowa as his talents on the floor were exhibited. In his freshman year, Grayer broke the scoring record by a freshman while helping the Cyclones to their first NCAA tournament appearance in over forty years. That NCAA tournament success continued in Grayer’s sophomore season when Iowa State advanced to the “Sweet 16” and completed a successful season. In perhaps his greatest individual season at Iowa State, Grayer averaged 25.4 points per game and 9.4 rebounds per game, both of which led the Big Eight Conference.

Legendary Cyclone head coach Johnny Orr once said of Grayer, “He’s simply the best and most complete player I ever coached.”

Following his time at Iowa State, Grayer continued his success on the basketball court when he was drafted with the number thirteen pick in first round of the 1988 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. Additionally, Grayer played in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea and helped the United States win a bronze medal. His success in the 1988 Summer Olympics served as a bridge between his success at Iowa State and in the NBA. During Grayer's nine-year professional career, he played with five NBA teams: the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers, Sacramento Kings, and the Charlotte Hornets. During this lengthy career, Grayer scored over three thousand points and secured over one thousand rebounds.

For all his success on the hardwood, Jeff Grayer was inducted into the Iowa State Hall of Fame in 1999. His legacy at Iowa State cannot be understated. During his time with the Cyclones, Grayer, his teammates, and Coach Johnny Orr built a successful program at Iowa State. Grayer's legacy is firmly cemented in Iowa State history. His number forty-four was retired in 1991 and hangs in the rafters of Hilton Coliseum alongside other Cyclone greats. He is one of seven Iowa State men's basketball players in the history of the program to have their jerseys retired since the program began in 1907.

Source: ISU Alumni Association

Jeff Grayer’s legacy at Iowa State cannot be overstated. During his four years at the university, he scored more points than any other player in the history of the program. He was one of seven players to ever have their jerseys retired at Iowa State. He used his success at Iowa State as a player to continue his success in basketball at the professional level. Grayer will go down as one of the most successful basketball individuals Iowa State University has ever experienced.

Selected Sources

Garrity, J. The Unknown Cyclone. New York: Sports Illustrated, December 21, 1987. Page 86.

Wright, D. Retirement of Jerseys a Rare Honor for Truly Great Players. Ames, IA: Iowa State Daily, February 20, 2008. Retrieved From:

Jeff Grayer Returning to ISU Basketball. Ames, IA: Iowa State University, April 23, 2010. Retrieved From:

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