NC State’s Gavin Grant was featured in a story titled, “Enigmatic Grant remains optimistic” in today’s N&O.
Gavin Grant may be N.C. State’s most versatile, unpredictable, outspoken, intriguing and, at times, infuriating player.
The 6-foot-7 junior can be streaky good shooting the ball or slashing to the basket, then force up a shot so poor it makes NCSU coach Sidney Lowe and Wolfpack fans cringe.
Grant can make a blink-of-the-eye crossover dribble that leaves a defender sprawling — Maryland’s D.J. Strawberry comes to mind — and zip a pass for an easy layup, then make an unforced turnover on the simplest of plays.
On defense, Grant has good hands, good anticipation and can sky for a block. Moments later, his concentration waning, he might allow an easy shot.
Before the season, NC State’s coaching staff shared in pricate that they expected Gavin Grant to have a breakout season and potentially compete for the ACC’s Player of the Year. As the following quote and bullet point #2 in this entry indicates, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Grant has had seven or more assists in five games this season, with a high of 10 against Alabama. He also has had seven or more turnovers in five games, with a high of 10 against Cincinnati. In the 12 games when he was used primarily at point guard, Grant had 70 assists and 72 turnovers
The arrival Wolfpack recruits Marques Johnson, Farnold Degand and JJ Hickson next year could have both positive and negative impacts on Grant. On one hand, having more depth in key positions – particularly point guard – will allow Grant to roam his natural position on the wing and capitalize on his strengths. On the other hand, the new players will impact the number of available positions for playing time and may create a situation where Grant, Courtney Fells and Brandon Costner are competing for playing time for just two positions – shooting guard and wing forward.
If such a situation were to evolve next year, Grant would need to elevate the consistency across his game to insure he would get the playing time that would make him happy; defensive effort, blocking-out/rebounding, outside shooting, and (most importantly) unforced errors/turnovers would need to improve.
Of course, this all assumes that Grant will be playing as the Wolfpack’s lone senior next season. By the sounds of the following quote there may be some doubt to that:
“I think I got a lot better this season,” he said. “I think if I was to be here next year, I’ll definitely benefit from what happened — playing point guard, having to play so many minutes.”
Grant said he has not made a decision on whether to stay in school for his senior year or leave early to play pro ball. Plus, his life could change after the immigration hearing in June in Atlanta.
Federal officials contend Grant entered the United States illegally from Jamaica 12 years ago. He could be deported or ordered to leave the country voluntarily and then apply to return.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s kind of weird. I don’t have any control over it, so I don’t try to think about it. I’ll let it take care of itself. There’s nothing I can do but try to stay out of trouble.”
And keep playing.