Indianapolis – There should be plenty of more wins on the horizon this summer for Justin Gant.
The 6'8" sophomore forward was one of the few bright spots this past season for Terre Haute North, which struggled through an 8-15 season and bowed out of the state tournament in its sectional opener. Now, he's suiting up for Mark Adams' Team Indiana Elite 16-and-under squad, and there's no shortage of talent.
Gant is joined by fellow D-I prospects Austin Etherington, Dee Davis, Jeremiah Davis, Vinny Zollo, Deng Leek and Chier Ajou, among others, on a team that figures to be among the country's best in its age bracket. It lived up to that billing last weekend at the IndyBall.com Shootout in Indianapolis, advancing to the championship game before losing in overtime to the Spiece Indy Fast Break squad.
"There's a lot of really good guys on this team, and we'll be able to play against some really good competition and see how good we are," Gant said.
Gant will be a major factor in Elite's success this summer. A very active player on both ends of the floor, Gant is an excellent rebounder who can score around the basket, in transition or by facing up and shooting the mid-range jump shot. Playing alongside the 6'11" Leek and the 7'1" Ajou this summer will give more of a chance to step away from the basket and work on his 3-point shot as well as his ball handling.
"I like to play inside out," Gant said. "If I've got a smaller guy on me I can take him in the post, but if I have a bigger guy on me I try to take him outside and maybe use my speed to get by him or my jumper and try to get him that way."
Both Indiana State and Iowa have been impressed enough by what they've seen to offer a scholarship, while Indiana, Purdue, Butler and Xavier have had him on campus for unofficial visits as well.
While Indiana hasn't offered Gant a scholarship yet, it's clear that IU Coach Tom Crean's staff is keeping a close eye on him as a possibility for its 2011 class. Gant was in Bloomington during the season to watch the Hoosiers play, and he said he remains in contact with the staff.
"I keep in touch with Coach Crean," Gant said. "Seeing them play, they like to run a little bit, but if the other team is better at running then they have sets that they can run. They had a tough year, but they're going to get better."
One of the advantages IU has is its only an hour drive from Gant's Terre Haute home, and that could come into consideration when it eventually comes time to make a decision. Gant said coaching style and how he'd see himself fitting into an offense are the most important factors, but location is something he'll also consider.
"Staying in-state matters a little bit to me," Gant said. "I would like to stay closer to home if I can. But if it ends up that I have to travel a little bit, that's okay too."
Gant Has Offers, Plenty of Interest
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