For that reason, we've assembled the following scouting report. My analysis is accompanied by quotes from Brewster head coach Jason Smith and some words from New England expert Matt Borrello.
Grant stands 7-1, 245 pounds and he's not your typical high school center. The term "athletic" has been a bit overused in the recruiting industry of late, but it certainly applies to Grant. He's got a lean, strong build and gets up the floor faster than the average big man. It was apparent in pregame warmups that his vertical leap was not that of a typical center either. As he tossed alley-oops to himself off the backboard, his jumping ability along with long arms and a 7-1 frame, made it quite a spectacle.
"The most important aspect with Damion for people to realize is this is his second year of playing (basketball), but he does have the natural God-given talent of long arms, he's athletic, he can run and jump." – Coach Smith.
Thanks to his build and athleticism, defense is currently Grant's strong point. He's a good shotblocker and plays strong down low.
"You know what I think he does better than a lot of kids I've seen? He contests every shot defensively. He's late sometimes, but he's getting there." – Matt Borrello.
Grant's reaction time on defense will improve with time. He's still learning to anticipate the shot and recognize how the opposing team's offensive play is developing. He'll be a much more effective post presence when he figures out the best place to be on every play for the shot block or the rebound.
Having heard people refer to Grant as "raw" or as a "project," my expectations were of an uncoordinated player who couldn't get the ball to the basket. For that reason, the offensive skills that Grant displayed were a pleasant surprise.
On the first offensive set, he took a pass at the top left of the key and hit a face-up jumper. Several plays later, after fighting for position on both sides of the paint, Grant caught the ball down low and hit a five-footer.
Now, more on line with the expectations, he did miss several close range shots. He needs to develop his low post game, posting up low on a defender and finishing around the basket. There were also a few quick passes that slipped through his hands. Underdeveloped? Yes. Raw? Not really.
"He gets up the floor so well and he's getting there in terms of just being able offensively to catch, seal off the defender and make a move to the basket." – Matt Borrello
"He works on his hands ten minutes per day. With him it's just repetition and getting game experience. ‘Coach, what do I have to do.' Twenty minutes of individual with him during practice is just drop-step dunk or up and unders. With him it's just reps. He needs reps." – Coach Smith.
From an academic standpoint, Grant is rock solid. He's got the grades and board scores for college already. On the court, he apparently is picking things up fast.
"He's extremely coachable. He wants to learn. Always asking us questions off the court. He'll come over to the office and ask. Saw something on tape and ask why we do this. He's picking this stuff up like a sponge. Everything we show him, he's fantastic." – Coach Smith.
Grant has come a long way in less than two years – and he still has a ways to go. He's certainly not going to dominate as a freshman in college, but at the same time he's not going to need to redshirt. With his build, athleticism and burgeoning skills, he can run with a fast team and clog the paint in the halfcourt set.
"His understanding of the game is getting better every single day. From Sept. to now is 100 percent improvement. Down the line he's going to get a lot better. Is he going to go in as a freshman and contribute big right away? Depends on what program. At the highest level? No. But there's the potential there that down the road he's going to be pretty special." – Coach Smith.
"He hasn't really been coached up to this point, so he's learning on the run. This is going to take time. He's a kid you take if you've got five scholarships to give and you're already solid in the frontcourt. He's not someone who can come in there and contribute a lot right away. He's someone you can bring into a situation and develop him over time, starting with maybe 5-10 minutes his first year." – Matt Borrello.