Jerai Grant: Making a Name For Himself

Growing up with a father and uncle that played in the NBA, it is natural for people to expect good things from Jerai Grant, but Jerai knows that good things won't come without the hard work. "People always expected things, but I didn't feel any pressure, I know I have to put in the work to be a good player."

Growing up with a father and uncle that played in the NBA, it is natural for people to expect good things from Jerai Grant, but Jerai, (pronounced Je-Ray) knows that good things won't come without the hard work. "I started playing basketball when I was nine years old, but I really didn't ‘love' basketball until I was 13. People always expected things, but I didn't feel any pressure, I know I have to put in the work to be a good player. With My father and uncle around, I look at it as an advantage. They know what it takes to become a good ball player, I just try to soak in the knowledge from them."

Looking at the people around him, Jerai is surrounded by people with a great deal of experience. His father, Harvey Grant, played in the NBA, as did his uncle, Horace Grant. He is coached by former NBA players Buck Williams and Ennis Whatley on his AAU team, Maryland Madness. As much as he learns from them, he credits his coach at Dematha Catholic, Mike Jones, for a great deal of his development, but Jones says that Grant has worked hard for his results. "It is easy for kids that come from that type of pedigree to expect to play, but Jerai always came with the mindset that he needed to work hard to see playing time."

Mike Jones explained Grant's progression as he has come through high school. "His freshman year he started on the JV. With his height, some people thought he would make varsity, but it was important for Jer-ai to play. He made great strides that year and really improved his overall game. His sophomore year we moved him up to varsity. He worked hard, and even though he didn't see a lot of time, he made the most of every opportunity when he did get into games. His junior year he really took off. His skills are there; he can step away from the basket and shoot, he is a great defender, rebounder and shooter. Next season he will have a leadership role on our team and we are expecting great things. The sky is the limit for him."

The one area that both Jones and Grant agree is that he needs to add weight. "I need to build up my strength this summer," said Grant, at the next level, everyone will be as tall as me so I will need a physical advantage, to be able to mix it up down low." Jerai is now 6'9, 200 lbs.

Off the court Jones says that Jerai is everyone's favorite. "He is the most well liked guy on the team. The kind of guy that everyone gives a hard time to, because they all know he can take a joke. He is a very funny kid." Jones also says that it doesn't stop with the team. "With his background he has had a lot of experiences, but in no way is he arrogant. He is a very good student and all of his teachers just love him. In our school you have students that come from every type of background you can imagine, and everyone like Jerai – he gets along with everyone. No matter who they are or where they came from, Jerai can and will find something in common with them."

When it comes to selecting a college, Jerai is taking a lot of things into consideration. "I feel that the strongest part of my game is that I can run the floor very well for a bigger guy, so I would really like to play in a program that runs the floor, but yet still plays in a set offense." Jerai also feels that it is important to find the right type of teammates too. "Right now I play with some of the best high school guards in the country in Austin Freeman and Jeff Peterson, and I feel that is very important, so I want to find a team with very good, experienced guards. It is also important to me that they are the type of people that I will have great relationships off the court."

In a college coach Jerai says he is looking for a certain type of coach. "I want to play for a coach that is very involved, especially with the player development. They type of coach that is hands on, someone that really puts in the time with his players."

When it comes to the recruiting process, Grant does not feel that he needs to follow in the footsteps of his father or his uncle. "I am really looking to make a name for myself. I learn so much from them, but I want to be my own person." When asked where he wants to play, he said he is still wide open, but that he really likes the Big East. "Where I live, everyone here says the ACC is by far the best conference in the country, but I think the Big East is every bit as good as the ACC, if anything they are neck and neck."

Jerai says that the schools that are recruiting him the hardest are, in no particular order, Dayton, Marquette, Florida, Xavier, Virginia and Indiana. Grant says there are more, but that those are the ones that are on him the hardest. With his work ethic, personality and drive to become the best, there are sure to be more schools knocking on his door as he continues to improve over the summer.


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