Tar Heels focus on Damion Grant

<i>Inside Carolina</i> spoke with Damion Grant, and his head coach, today about the significant developments in his recruitment over the past 24 hours. By the time Matt Doherty left New England and headed back south this morning, Grant had a Tar Heel scholarship offer and a scheduled official visit to Chapel Hill.

Damion Grant was sitting in the trainer's room after a solid 16-point, nine-rebound performance in front of North Carolina coach Matt Doherty. His coach at Brewster Academy, Jason Smith, walked in shortly after a discussion with Doherty and told the 7-foot-1, 245-pound Jamaican center that the UNC head man would like him to come down for a visit.

Then he told his developing big man that Doherty had offered him a scholarship.

"It can't get much better than Carolina," Grant told Inside Carolina. "You just have to understand the magnitude of that. There were a million things going through my head at that point. Did he (Doherty) really like what he saw?"

Grant was excited about the offer, but still had trouble getting past the loss to Maine Central Institute.

"Damion is very excited about the offer from UNC," Smith said. "When I told him that Coach Doherty offered him a scholarship, the very first thing out of his mouth was ‘We should have won tonight … I could have played better.' Then it was immediately followed by a huge smile – from the UNC (news)."

Grant said that his two leaders at this point are UNC and Seton Hall. The Pirates coach Louis Orr was the first one to express an interest in Grant while he was coaching at Siena. Grant had also mentioned Kentucky late last month, but today said the Wildcats hadn't been particularly aggressive in their pursuit of late.

"It'll probably be just UNC and Seton Hall," Grant added. "LSU offered, also, but I don't really know much about their program. I'm going to look into it."

Grant is scheduled to go back to New Jersey tomorrow for winter break and then he'll take the train down to Chapel Hill for the Jan. 5 game against Wake Forest. He said one factor that may make his decision easier is that his girlfriend is a freshman at UNC.

"I'm hoping I go down and like what I see," Grant said. "But I'm not sure. Anything can happen. I might come down and like it and decide to commit – or maybe I'll like it and still decide to wait.

"Coach Doherty isn't rushing me to make a decision, but he said the sooner the better and that's understandable. It's up to me."

Grant was unsure if he'd be able to make an impact at a top-tier school like Seton Hall or North Carolina a month or so ago, but he's changed his outlook – at least on one end of the floor – after facing some tough competition among the New England prep schools.

"My thoughts have changed," he said. "I know I'll be able to go in and contribute on defense right away. On offense, I know I still need some work. But right now, I know I can be a factor on defense."

Grant is also well aware that he can vie for playing time almost immediately upon showing up at Chapel Hill. He mentioned Kris Lang's graduation and Neil Fingleton's transfer as possible factors in his ultimate decision.

Zeke Martins contributed to this report.

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