Damion Grant's season comes to a close

BEVERLY, Mass. – Memo to North Carolina fans: Don't expect too much too soon from Damion Grant.

The 7-foot Jamaican ended his prep school career yesterday with seven point, seven-rebound, five-block performance in a 77-60 loss to Winchendon in the first round of the New England Prep School Class A tournament.

Grant came out much more aggressive early in the first half, which is something his coach has been preaching to him, but he also picked up a pair of early fouls and was sent to the bench.

"I love to see that because we've been telling him to pick up fouls on the offensive glass all year," Brewster coach Jason Smith said. "I have no problem with that."

He had four points in the first half and came out in the second half asking for the ball. On the first possession, he was fouled on the blocks and hit one of two free throws.

He then had a strong dunk less than a minute later on a pretty feed from teammate Armon Gates to cut the Winchendon lead to 34-32. But that was it for Grant on the offensive end.

Grant, as usual, was extremely active on the defensive end, swatting a pair of shots in one possession midway through the second half. However, Winchendon, the number two seed, had too much for Brewster and pulled away, prompting Smith to sit Grant down in favor of more speed.

Grant ended the season averaging 10 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks.

"I was just trying to be aggressive today," said Grant, whose team was making its first-ever appearance in the Class A tournament. "I'm hoping that it won't be like that on the college level as far as them calling so many fouls on me."

Grant said he will now concentrate on individual workouts and an advanced weight training class before reporting to Chapel Hill on June 27 for the second summer session.

He will also get a chance to work on his low-post game at the prestigious Pete Newell camp for big men.

"I know I've come a long way since September," said Grant, who makes much better decisions on the court than he did a month ago. "But the dream isn't over yet. I've still got a lot of work to do. Some people don't seem to understand that I've only been playing for a little while. They think that because I'm 7-1 and am so big, I'm going to score 20 points and get 20 rebounds every game."

"It would be nice, but it's not that easy for me. I just need to play in order to get better."

There's no question that the Tar Heels are desperate for a big man to clog the middle, but it's unrealistic to expect Grant to come in and give the team more than 10 minutes per game as a freshman.

"I'm very pleased with his understanding of the game over the past few months," Smith said. "But I'd still like to see him become more aggressive on the offensive end."

"I see him getting five to eight minutes off the bench early in his freshman year and then getting 10 to 12 minutes by the end of the season."


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