The Jordan Brand Classic festivities highlighted what Austin Grandstaff does best. He plays under control, makes the most of his opportunities and possesses that increasingly rare skill — burying long jump shots.
But Grandstaff is more versatile than that, handling and passing with sure hands and eyes, and at 6-5 he also possesses good size for the backcourt. He doesn’t draw raves for his athleticism but aims to make his heady, skilled, ball control style pay off for Thad Matta’s program.
He entered the spring off a very impressive senior year, even if his Rockwall (Texas) High squad fell short of its goals.
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”I had a really good season individually,” Grandstaff said. “I got hurt in the middle of the season (knee) and it kind of hurt us, we didn’t make playoffs so that was disappointing.
”But I led the state of Texas in scoring my junior and senior year, so that was a pretty big deal. I had fun, I enjoyed it, but I’m ready to move on to the next level now.”
Grandstaff understands the vast upgrade in competition from high school to college. His goal is to slot in as precisely as he can to earn minutes.
”Whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do it,” he said. “They’ve told me scoring the ball scoring the ball is probably what I do best, knocking down open shots and just making plays.”
Grandstaff is both physically and mentally versatile. He blended in at times at Jordan Brand and last year on the travel circuit, playing a more nuanced and reserved style, but obviously — based on his prolific scoring — he can be the alpha dog as well.
To maximize is potential impact in Columbus, he understands that addressing his body is the top priority. And the Buckeyes’ coaches are assisting him with that transformation.
”They’ve wanted me to get a lot quicker and stronger, that’s what I’ve been working on right now,” Grandstaff said. “I’ve put on five to 10 pounds. I go up there in June and start the weight program, but I wanted to be ready before I even got there.”
He’s just one piece of a strong signing class. The Buckeyes’ top-rated commitment is JaQuan Lyle, another big and versatile guard, and Grandstaff views himself as capable at either backcourt position.
”I think I’ll play some combo, we have JaQuan Lyle coming in, too, and he’s really good,” Grandstaff said. “They’re putting him as more of a point guard. I think we can play some point guard by committee. We’re going to have some guards who can really go.”
Grandstaff ranks No. 48 in the Class of 2015 and is one of four top-100 seniors on his way to OSU.