SYLACAUGA -- Rising senior Shannon Grant has been making a name for himself on the AAU circuit over the past few months.
The Sylacauga standout has been highlighted on several websites. His AAU performance has also helped him garner interest from several college scouts, but he is still working towards earning his first offer.
“I think one of the main things people are going to ask me going into school basketball is who do I have offers from and how many offers,” Grant said. “July is the most important month of AAU. I am just going into those playdates and tournaments wanting to get as much college interest as I can coming into my senior year, so they can keep up with me and keep track with my progress.”
Grant is playing for the Alabama Celtics AAU team.
The 6-foot-10 center has traveled across the country over the past few months to take on some of the top prospects in the 2020 class. Grant believes playing AAU ball will help him take his game to another level during the high school season.
As a junior, Grant averaged 10.4 points and 7.3 rebounds. He also had 52 blocks.
“When I am playing AAU, I could be playing a top 100 player,” Grant said. “If I shine against them, you know I am going to shine when I come back to Alabama. I am not saying that they are not good, because they are, but being able to go out and produce for my AAU team the way that I do, then come back to play school basketball, it just makes the game easier.
“In school basketball, you play that one game, but in AAU, you get to play seven or eight games in a weekend against solid competition.”
Grant has worked hard on getting in better shape.
He has lost 17 pounds since the end of May. The biggest change for Grant came in the kitchen instead of the weight room.
“I am trying to get to a point where I can play a full game if need be next season,” Grant said. “The thing that I have been doing is not working out, I have been eating better. I changed my eating habits.
“A lot of players have the body of a college player, but their skill may not be there. I know I am skilled, but I want to get to a point where college coaches say, ‘Look at his body,’ and then you add my skill. That’s the goal right there.”
Grant said he plans on losing 20 more pounds.
Dropping the weight has given Grant the ability to do more on the offensive and defensive ends, which is a scary thought for Sylacauga’s opponents.
“Last year, I had a lot of opportunities to tear the rim down and get a few dunks in the game, but I just wanted to get back on defense,” he said. “Now, I feel like I am quicker off my feet. I can get up off the ground quicker and get back on defense.
“Another thing that (losing weight) has helped me with is when teams target me by switching out with their guards (on defense), I feel like I am a lot quicker and I can keep up with them.”
The increased interest in Grant has also brought along rumors.
Grant has received questions about whether he will spend his final season at Sylacauga, but the Aggies’ big man made it clear he has never had intentions of leaving.
“A lot of people have asked me if I am going to be at Sylacauga next year or if I am going to a school in Birmingham, but I’m not going nowhere,” he said. “I’ll be staying at Sylacauga next year.
“We ended the season with a really tough loss to Ramsay. We pretty much had control of the game the entire game, but we let it slip out of our hands in the final few minutes. Our goal is to win the state championship this year.”