IC Interview with Damion Grant

Jamaican big man Damion Grant is very interested in North Carolina and after tomorrow the Brewster Academy (N.H.) 7-footer should know whether the feelings are mutual.

Tar Heels assistant coach Doug Wojcik is scheduled to head to Brewster to get his first look at the 7-1, 245-pound Grant, who has become a hot commodity of late because of his athleticism and also due to the fact that there aren't many quality senior big men left on the board.

Grant moved to the U.S. from Jamaica in June of 1998 and has shuttled to and from a couple different high schools. He missed nearly the entire season last year at the Newport School after tearing a knee ligament in practice. Before he went down, he played about 10 games and averaged eight points, eight boards and six blocks.

"I wasn't happy there, but I'm loving it at Brewster," said Grant, who has already qualified with a 3.0 GPA and a 980 on the SAT. "I didn't have surgery until June, even though I got hurt in January, so I was on crutches for my graduation."

The interest was minimal for Grant. Siena, with then-coach Louis Orr, and Rider were the only ones of note offering a scholarship. Then after Orr left for Seton Hall, he tossed an offer Grant's way during this past summer.

"I probably would have redshirted," he said. "I know I don't have the experience to play at the college level yet. I need repetitions to get better."

So he opted for a post-grad year at Brewster, where he could get extensive playing time. Grant never played basketball while growing up in Jamaica, so he is basically a novice when it comes to learning the game.

"He's got a fantastic body and has tremendous upside, but we want people to realize that it's only his second year playing organized basketball," said Brewster coach Jason Smith.

Despite the fact that only a handful of teams – UMass, Seton Hall, Siena, West Virginia and Florida State – have seen him, his list has been growing because of word of mouth.

"I wonder if some schools do their recruiting based on who else is recruiting him," added Smith.

Grant has already taken official trips to UMass, Seton Hall and LaSalle, but he's already decided on a list of three schools that have separated themselves.

"The only ones that I'm really interested in right now are Seton Hall, North Carolina and Kentucky," Grant said. "I'm not sure how serious Indiana and Illinois are right now."

As for having to perform at a high level for the big boys like UNC and Indiana, which is planning to send someone over to watch him on Dec. 9, Grant doesn't seem overly concerned.

"There's no pressure because they understand my situation," he said. "If I'm what they want, they'll recruit me. If not, then we'll go from there. But there's no pressure at all – I'm just going with the flow."

"Carolina is Carolina and is one of the most prestigious programs in the country," added Grant. "Its reputation speaks for itself. The same thing with Kentucky."

Grant is extremely agile for a player his size. He played soccer, excelled in the 100- and 200-meters in track and also played cricket in Jamaica. He runs the floor well and is active on the defensive end, but needs to work on his offensive game, including trying to develop some low-post moves.


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