South Plains

Grantham Gillard commits to Arkansas State basketball

Gillard chooses the Red Wolves

South Plains coach Steve Green said the best part of Grantham Gillard’s game is his shooting.

And his range.

“He has exceptional range,’’ said Green, whose team at South Plains finished 29-2 this past season. “He’s from anywhere in the gym, and the parking lot.”

Gillard, a 6-foot-4 guard, committed to Arkansas State on Sunday after his weekend visit. He plans to sign his letter-of-intent today.

“I loved everything,’’ he said. “Coach (Mike) Balado, the athletic director (Terry Mohajir), the coaches, the opportunity to play basketball, the education. I like that they mentioned it is like a real brotherhood. I’m excited about all of that.

“I’m excited to get the opportunity to play at Arkansas State but I am even more excited to be a part of coach Balado’s first season as a head coach. I connected with him but I connected with all of the coaches and the rest of the team.

Gillard is the second commitment for Balado and staff and both players visited this weekend. Jones County (Miss.) forward Tristan Walley committed Saturday evening. Paris Junior College forward Shaquillo Fritz is expected to name his college choice this week.

“I am truly blessed and thankful for this opportunity,’’ said Gillard. “I give God all the glory.”

This past season, Gillard averaged 10.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists in a little more than 16 minutes a game. He shot 47 percent from the field, 43 percent on 3-pointers and 69 percent free throws.

As a freshman at Northwest (Wyo.)  College, he averaged 15.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and was selected the team’s player of the year. He shot 42 percent from the field, 40 percent on 3-pointers, and 72 percent on free throws.  His brother Garrison, who is now at Kansas Wesleyan, was his teammate at Northwest.

At Eden Prairie, Minn., he was a two-sport standout earning multiple honors in football -- quarterback for two state titles -- and basketball. His father Bruce Gillard played quarterback in college.

“He is a good guy who will fit in well,’’ said Green.  “We just had him one year but he came in and contributed. He can really shoot, that is the best part of this game. And the rest of his game is adequate. He will do well there.”

Arkansas State is planning for now to add one more signee. Adding to the inside game was a priority. Gillard plays small forward and guard.


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