Austin Grandstaff: Junior Primer

Albeit somewhat well traveled in a high school sense, Grandstaff hasn't had any trouble rooting himself within the grassroots consciousness.

When I first observed Austin Grandstaff in action, his rising sophomore summer at the 2012 Peach Jam, I recognized immediately that he possessed high-major talent. He knocked in long three-pointers with a smooth stroke but, more than that, demonstrated a command of the game and displayed impressive perimeter ball skills.

As a sophomore in 2012-13, Grandstaff transferred at midseason to loaded Huntington (W.Va.) Prep. That team included No. 1 senior Andrew Wiggins and other, older high-majors, and when I watched them he didn't seem to have a clear role. Back at Rockwall (Texas) High for his junior season, Grandstaff currently is averaging over 25 points per contest and building on an already expansive reputation.

One thing Grandstaff won't do is generate recruiting drama. He ended the process early by committing to Oklahoma State, a rising Big 12 power than desired a three-point shooting boost from its 2015 class. Travis Ford himself was a sharpshooter during his day, so it's no surprise he'd want to coach a team brimming with offensive firepower.

The key for Grandstaff will be to prove that he can be more than shooter and facilitate more effectively for others. He doesn't enjoy that possibility as much in high school, as frequently is the case for impact shooters, but over the next several months we'll be curious to measure his progress.

Thing is, he certainly possesses the handling and passing skills to fill more diverse roles. He's no designated shooter hanging out on the perimeter waiting for open shots; he moves intelligently to create his own looks and has shown he can put the ball on the floor well enough to keep defenders honest.

Questions will persist whether he's sufficiently athletic to create his own offense off the dribble and, perhaps more critically, if he can defend the country's most explosive wing scorers. Clearly, getting stronger will be essential to help offset unfavorable matchups.

I'm not here predicting stardom for Grandstaff at OSU because I do think he'll fit into more of a specialist role, but I like him better than most specialists because I believe his handling and passing skills get largely overlooked. He'll have a chance at this year's national events to further solidify himself among the national upper crust.


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