Shannon Grant was selected as The Daily Home Player of the Week for his performance in the Sylacauga High School boys basketball team’s season-opening win on Nov. 14.
“We just going out there to handle business for the first game and set the tone for the rest of the season,” Grant said. “We have a new coach, so it is a new system but we have figured it out.”
Grant opened the 2019-20 campaign in dominant fashion as he scored 22 points and secured 10 rebounds in the Aggies’ 73-66 victory over defending Class 2A champion Central Coosa.
“We are just getting started, and it is going up from here,” Grant said. “I started out the season not only trying to score, but to rebound the ball and try my best on defense. I want to see all my teammates get more shots, but if my opportunity to score the ball is there, I am going to score the ball like my coach told me.”
First-year head coach Kent Fullington was pleased with what he saw from his 6-foot-10 senior in their opening game.
“He was an absolute beast that night -- it was incredible,” Fullington said. “He was an absolute force to be reckoned with. Having that option just allows everyone else to get open. What you really don’t realize is how good of a passer he is out of the post as well. He is an unselfish teammate and he wants everybody around him to be successful. I couldn’t be happier with his performance and it is something that I think he is going to continue to do.”
During the offseason, Grant spent his time working on his game in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) circuit with the Alabama Celtics. Grant took advantage of the opportunity as he worked on developing parts of his game that he didn’t have time to work on during the high school season.
“Last year, I was prominently in the post,” he said. “When I went to AAU, I could do a little bit of everything. I could shoot, pass, bring the ball up the court and guard every position. I felt like that was best for me coming into high school (basketball) because going to other states to play the top players in the country, then coming back to Alabama, you don’t see a lot of people that are that much taller than me.
“I had to play someone that was 7’ and that was pretty tough. Playing against that competition made me turn into a better athlete, it made me get into better shape and get stronger.”
Even though this season’s team is filled with inexperienced players, Grant still has lofty goals for this season.
“We want to win the state championship,” Grant said. “We have to come to practice every day and work hard. We have to believe in our system and believe in each other. We just have to go in and work every day.”
Grant said he admires the game of the versatile big men in college basketball and the NBA.
“The players that I try to model myself after is like Joel Embid,” he said. “He can do everything from the big man position. The new style of big men like Anthony Davis is one of those too. I am trying to do everything. You can’t play in the post the whole game. In college, you have to be ready to do everything. You have to be able to shoot the ball, dribble and pass it.”