Austin Grandstaff: Evaluation

From the beginning, Austin Grandstaff enjoyed some advantages. His father, Wes, is a long-time veteran of the Nike circuit and obviously knows the ropes on recruiting as well.


Introduction

But Grandstaff's greatest advantage always has been that he's a talented player. The versatile guard demonstrated his ability early, showcasing good shooting and playmaking skills in the 16-under division of the 2012 Peach Jam. That week helped put him on the national radar, and he changed high schools — at one point attending Huntington (W.Va.) Prep along with Andrew Wiggins — as a sophomore.

Then, last summer, he issued a commitment to Oklahoma State. The Cowboys were thrilled to have a national prospect from Texas in the fold, but the pledge ultimately didn't last. He backed off this past February and entered the travel season entertaining overtures from Florida, Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and other major programs.

But he didn't want to drag out the process and committed to the Buckeyes in May. From there, he hit the road with Team Texas Elite and enjoyed a fine summer both on the EYBL circuit and in Las Vegas to close the July live period.

Assets

Grandstaff first established a name as a shooter, but he's actually far more than that. He does possess nice touch from the perimeter, but I've always been more impressed by his floor game. Though a nice-sized wing at 6-5, he's a fine secondary handler and passer who can run the show against pressure. He's purely a defensive wing, but offensively he possesses the tools to initiate the offense as needed.

But not only can he play smaller than 6-5, he can play bigger as well. Grandstaff's EYBL averages included 18 points along with five rebounds and four assists per outing. That's a lot of production and versatility in a 32-minute summer basketball game.

Grandstaff's well-rounded game puts him ahead of the curve

His substantial improvement is evident and highly encouraging. Grandstaff raised raw his numbers across the board from 2013 to 2014, and he did so while reducing his turnovers. He gained at least as much mentally as he did physically from his rising junior to rising senior summer.

And although he didn't shoot the ball as well from deep as he would have liked, Grandstaff certainly does remain a long-distance threat. With time to grow into his body and to carve out a clear role for OSU, he could thrive sooner than later for Thad Matta's program.

Deficits

Grandstaff shot only 33 percent on threes during his 16 games on the EYBL circuit. That isn't a terrible percentage, but in 2013 he shot 37 percent and his stroke looks like the kind of weapon that should be more consistent than it was.

The relative inaccuracy dragged down his overall shooting percentage to 40 percent, given that he took more than half his shots from three. He'll need to take fewer threes in college or, more likely, simply knock them in at a higher percentage.

Otherwise, Grandstaff is a reasonably good athlete but certainly not as explosive as many Big Ten wings. He'll have to get stronger and develop compensation strategies, particularly on defense.

Outlook

Grandstaff doesn't jump out as the kind of guy who's going to explode as a freshman and ship out to the NBA, but don't bet against an early impact and eventual professional career.

A wing with size and such an expansive skill level — and who appears to be improving rapidly — can bring a lot to the table within the sport's most competitive realms.

Ohio State aims to sign a large class to restock a roster set to be depleted by attrition. Grandstaff will enter into a scenario that already includes combo guard D'Angelo Russell, among others, but clearly there's available playing time and a need for a polished backcourt performer.


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