With the possibility of Julius Hodge declaring for early entry into the NBA draft, Coach Sendek looked to draw from St. Raymond's once again, for yet another versatile small forward. Last week, NC State got their commitment from Gavin Grant, a top 100 player in the nation and one of the top players coming out of New York in 2004.
StateFans caught up with Gavin to talk about his decision to attend NC State on Monday night. We asked him how he thought he would fit in to the Wolfpack style of play. "Well, you know, NC State's Offense, there are not too many positions. The only position that is locked is the five. I'll be playing from one to four. They said I should be able to contribute right away."
Gavin has often been compared to current Wolfpacker and former St. Raymond player Juluis Hodge. In an N&O interview, Coach Oliver Antigua says that the comparison may be a place to start but there are differences. "The thing that is often overlooked is that Gavin can play defense on anybody. He is a very versatile player and a great defender. Gavin may be a better athlete. Julius is the better shooter right now, but both of them play hard."
We asked Gavin how he felt about the comparisons. "He went there (NC State) first, so it doesn't matter to me. I'm going to be my own person. I am going to do my own thing."
There has been some speculation that Hodge may go pro after his junior year. We asked Gavin what he thought after spending time with Hodge last weekend. "Everyone thinks he will be going pro. I agree. I think if he has a good year he will leave."
The official visit to Raleigh gave Gavin a chance to meet some of the current players for the Wolfpack. "I met Levi Watkins, and the left hander Marcus Melvin. They were real nice, you know. I like Ilian's game. He is a real good passer. Most likely he will be 100% when the season starts."
It has long been rumored that Gavin was the #1 Small Forward target from the class of 2004 for the Pack. According to the St. Raymond's star, he was made to feel as if he was. "They recruited me as if I were their #1 target. They were at all my games even though there were other players playing. They made me feel as if I were their #1 option. I didn't want to let them down, having them recruit me so hard and me going somewhere else."
That sense of loyalty by Grant to the Pack was certainly earned by the staff. "I absolutely loved the recruiting by Coach Harris and Coach Sendek. It was with the utmost professionalism, like they recruited me as one of the best. Everything was done over the table. There was nothing done behind my coaches back or anything like that. So, you know, it was a class act from the beginning."
It has always been a dream of Grant's to play in the ACC. "I have always wanted to play in the ACC, ever since I was a kid. I guess I am about to have my chance."
Grant was named to the All-Bronx second team by both the New York Daily News and Newsday. He averaged 10 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists in just 21 minutes a game last season for ST. Raymond's, the CHSAA City Champions.
For all the Buzz on Gavin Grant, click here.