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InsideHoops [NCAA HOME] July 6, 2004

Gavin Grant Interview




Gavin Grant, a terrific big guard from St. Raymond's high school in New York City, will be a freshman at North Carolina State in the fall. Although he's a shooting guard, Grant also plays well at the small forward and point guard spots. The kid has a big-time shot to go with extremely versatile skills. Grant barely even played basketball as a kid, and once he started playing he became one of the best, if not the best, player in the entire state of New York. met with Gavin to discuss his past, present and future. Introduce yourself.

Gavin Grant: My name is Gavin Grant, I grew in Parkchester in the Bronx. I went to St. Raymond's high school. I played AAU with the New York Ravens. And I'm going to be a freshman at North Carolina State. What made you pick NC State?

Gavin Grant: Julius Hodge, a former player of St. Raymond, goes there, so I felt that he had success there, we have similar games, I play just as hard, I'm a little more physically gifted, so I figure if I go there and work hard, I'll have a little more success than he did, and hopefully be able to play in the NBA one day. So you'll have a season to play with him, before he's gone from there. Do you guys know each other?

Gavin Grant: Yeah, me and Julius is real cool, we actually knew each other before. From playing around here (in New York)?

Gavin Grant: Yeah. What got you started on basketball? Talk about your background.

Gavin Grant: I was actually born in Jamaica. I came to America when I was nine years old, and I used to sit in the park when I was about 13, watching everybody play. I wasn't really good, I was just tall. But after a while I started playing in the park, dribbling constantly when I wasn't playing, eventually I grew to be 6'7" and so I was able to be a guard at 6'7". Talk about moving to New York from another country. Who did you live with?

Gavin Grant: I lived with my mom, as always, but now I live with a friend of my family's, because my family lives in Connecticut, so I live with a friend of my family's in the Bronx so I can attend school at St. Raymond's. So around 13, you first started messing around with ball. When did you actually get taller than the other kids, and better than them?

Gavin Grant: I was always taller than the other kids, but I started to get good that summer (when I was 13) -- my name is Shane, so everybody used to call me "Sh*tty Shane," because I was that bad. That just made me work a little harder, and I was always in the park, on rainy days, shooting, and eventually I got better. I always had a good jump-shot and I was able to handle the ball. Where did "Shane" come from, just the "Shane" part, not the adjective before it, is that middle name or a nickname?

Gavin Grant: That's what everyone calls me. Everyone knows me as Shane in my neighborhood. It came from my Aunt. She wanted my mom to name me Shane, but my mom named me Gavin, yet she used to just always call me Shane. So now at this point, you're 14 or 15 and around 8th grade, and started getting better than a lot of kids...

Gavin Grant: In the park, yeah. And then I started playing AAU basketball. People started knowing about me. I went to St. Raymond's elementary school for one year, coming from public school. Then I went to St. Raymond's high school, and all I knew was Rice and St. Raymond's, I didn't know about the other schools. I really just went to St. Raymond's because it was right around the corner. I didn't even know how it was one of the best programs in the country. Freshman year I played freshman, and sophomore year I played varsity - but I didn't play much. Junior year I worked real hard, and got more athleticism and played alongside Louie McCroskey who is at Syracuse, Tariq Atkins who goes to Iona, and Daon Merritt who is at Richmond, and Allan Ray, who was injured, he goes to villanova university right now and is their leading scorer. In my junior year, we won the city championship, but we lost in the round before the state championship. Also during my junior year we had a coaching change: Gary DeCesare went to Richmond University, so assistant coach Oliver Antiqua became head coach. So that's how I started to play a lot, because he and I are real good friends. And, I actually got a whole lot better. I was one of the top juniors in the country, ranked around #34 in the country. I averaged around 12 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks... but our team was real good. And in my senior year I kept getting better, and we won the CHSAA New York city championship again. I got the MVP in the championship team. I made everything first-team: first team All-state, first team All-city, every newspaper in New York, and I was the New York Daily News Bronx MVP. Who were some good teammates you played AAU ball with?

Gavin Grant: Kirk Stinson, Iowa State. That was when I was going into my junior year. We won the Las Vegas Bigtime Tournament. We were the #1 team in the country at that point. So what are your plans this summer?

Gavin Grant: I'm just going to be working out with Julius Hodge all summer, when I get down there. I'm going to try to get a whole lot stronger, because the ACC is no joke, and I'll try to get more athletic, and just learn from Julius. He was ACC Player of the Year last year, and he's obviously doing something right, so I plan on just learning from him. How tall and big are you now, exactly?

Gavin Grant: I'm 6-7, 205. As for NBA skills, you're just starting college right now but already have some pretty advanced basketball skills. Talk about your game.

Gavin Grant: I'm a big guard, and there's always big guards in the NBA. I just want to get stronger, and a bit faster and I'll be all right. I'm a shooter more than a slasher, but I can definitely get to the basket. And I play well with my back to the basket, and play well against smaller guards.

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