Johnson: Grant Watches as His Career Ends

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Gavin Grant watched the final minutes of his last game with the Wolfpack, sitting on the bench as his teammates wrapped up a 63-50 loss to Miami on Thursday afternoon.

It seemed a cruel punishment for a player who gave so much to NC State basketball.

There was Gavin Grant, sitting on the bench as time wound down in what would be his final game in a Wolfpack uniform. As the clock kept moving and Grant remained seated, a few voices in the crowd called for coach Sidney Lowe to put the senior back in the game. In a relatively quiet arena, the shouts reached the ears of Grant.

"Yeah I heard those people, those were just fans and I appreciate their enthusiasm and their support," Grant said.

But Lowe either didn't hear or didn't care, because Grant never saw the floor again. The teams second-leading scorer and whose free-throws won two games earlier in the year, was relegated to watching as the final buzzer sounded on his career. But Gavin, who had every reason to be angry following the game, had nothing but respect for his coaches after the game.

"I thought the guys out there were playing hard," Grant said. "I didn't have a problem with that."

"I would have loved to score 100 points and we win," Grant said. "But it doesn't always go your way and its a tough thing to swallow. I'm proud of our team."

For his part, Lowe said that Grant's play dictated his benching in the final minutes of the game. Simply put, he wanted the players who were playing well out on the court.

"As far as Gavin is concerned, I didn't think he was playing well," Lowe said. "We have other guys that we feel can get the job done and we were down and trying to make a run, and we had some guys in there who had pretty good energy.

"You're here to try to win a game. That's the object of it. You want to win basketball games, and you want to play the guys that you feel are playing well. It's not fair to play a guy just because it's his last game if he's not having one of his better games. I'm just a competitor. I want to win. I want to win, and that is what I was thinking about."

It wasn't the way he wanted to go out, to be sure. But in the locker room he simply sat back and looked back at a career filled with highlights and lowlights.

"I was just taking it all in," Grant said. "It's pretty much the last game I'm ever going to play in a NCAA jersey. It was a tough way to go out, especially not being on the court during the last minute but you know, that's the game."

When he was asked about his favorite memory as a player, he gave a true Wolfpack red response. Because his favorite memory didn't involve making the Sweet 16 as a freshman or either of his trips to the NCAA Tournament, but instead revolved around the Pack's most hated rival.

"Probably last year beating Carolina at home," Grant said. "I had not beaten Carolina my first two years – to beat Carolina at home felt real good. I was happy about that."


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