The Michigan Daily-Thursday, March 17, 1988-Page 11
By ADAM SCHEFTER
Gary Grant was born to be in the spotlight.
So it would be only fitting to end his Michigan ca-
reer celebrating in Kansas City - the place he was
born - with every camera flashing his way, each mi-
crophone being jammed in his face, and Grant, as
usual, being the center of attention.
It's the way he would want it.
On Tuesday April 24, 1984, Michigan landed a
five-star general to serve a four-year stint in Ann Ar-
bor, after finishing up at McKinley High School in
Canton, Ohio. But it wasn't easy.
Numerous people took notice of the signing,
including the NCAA. The Columbus Citizen-Journal
reported two days later that the NCAA was investigat-
ing the matter, particularly the possible involvement of
Nate Hubbard, uncle of former McKinley and Michigan
star Phil Hubbard.
The investigation angered Michigan Athletic Direc-
tor Don Canham. It angered head basketball coach Bill
Frieder. It gave Gary Grant immediate recognition.
To this day, Grant denies recruiting improprieties.
"There were no violations," Grant said. "The Hub-
bards were friends of the family, even before I moved to
Canton. They were always around the house, even be-
fore I was recruited. Then when Michigan became in-
volved, they didn't stop coming over. They weren't
trying to push me one way or another. People just
made a big deal out of it."
Grant's short-lived baseball career also made him a
big deal. People like Michigan assistant baseball coach
Danny Hall were astonished by his athletic skills.
On a scouting trip out to McKinley, Hall had the
privilege of seeing Grant play against the school's arch
rival, Glen Oak. It was the baseball team's seventh
game of the season and Grant's first since he had been
participating in the All-American high school basket-
ball tournaments around the country.
Hall watched Grant make one play in the outfield,
and, without ever seeing Grant with a bat in his hand,
instantly proclaimed that Grant was the best player on
the field. Hall was supposed to be scouting players that
later went on to play at Ohio State, Cincinnati,
Mississippi State, and Cleveland State.
"If he had put his efforts into baseball. he would
have been every bit as good as Bo Jackson," said Hank
Miller, Grant's high school baseball coach. "He just
didn't want to work at baseball the same way he did
The Milwaukee Brewers thought the same of
Grant's baseball abilities. They courted him, trying
desperately to take him out of his high-tops and put
him into spikes.
-One afternoon, Brewers' scout Jerry Craft sat in the
stands to watch an all-star game at Malone college.
Grant hit two homers, one Miller said was "the farthest
driven ball ever hit out of there." Craft had seen
enough. He offered Grant $70,000 to spurn college and
sign his name on the dotted line. But Grant turned
down the money and the little notoriety that the minor
leagues had to offer for instant stardom and recognition
at the collegiate ranks.
"I didn't enjoy baseball like I did basketball," Grant
--------- Daily Photo by JOHN MUNSM
Gary Grant playing to the Crisler Arena crowd after the Wolverines' final Big Ten game.
That's the way Grant wants It
year. I told the lady before the game started to bring
him into the locker room when the game was over.
"It's just sad to see that, but I enjoy trying to help
people like that because I've been blessed. When peo
ple are blessed with things that crippled people and re
tarded people are not blessed with, you share with
them. I'm serious about taking care of those people.".
Grant stormed onto the scene in1984, God's 4
to the maize and blue, quickly making Wolverine fan
forget that guard Eric Turner had ever gone hardship;
He has basked in the spotlight since day one, starting
every Michigan game over the past four years except
Leslie Rockymore's final game during Grant's first
His passes were picture-perfect. His shooting was
deadly. And his defense? Well, let's just say he con-
tained opponents like a boat stuck in a bottle.
The ink is almost all dry in the record books now
and Grant's name is splattered all about: 2187 career
points, second only to Mike McGee; most assists in a
game,14; most in a season, 214; most in a career, 711;
most steals, 298. He was a daring young man, doing
N things on the court with the greatest of ease - except
in the NCAA tournament.
The nightmare got underway in Dayton with the
Wolverines' 59-55 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson
and ended in a loss to Villanova by the same score.
"It was my first tournament," Grant said shaking his
head. "I didn't really know how to prepare myself fQr;
the tournament. I thought they would be like regular
games, but they weren't. It was a different world."
And Grant was a different player. He totaled six
points that tournament, all against Fairleigh Dickin-
son, and fouled out against Villanova with no steals,
one assist, and three turnovers. As much as he excited
fans throughout the season, that's how much he disap-
pointed them in the post-season.
His second tournament was no different. He scored
six points against Akron and four more against Iowa
State. He failed to help his teammates Roy Tarpley,
Butch Wade, Richard Rellford, and Robert Henderson in,
their final opportunity to win a national championship.
"I felt I lost the games," Grant said. "My first two
years, I produced all year when we won. In the two
playoff games we lost, I didn't do that at all. You can't
forget about those moments, but you try not to re-
Grant has an easier time remembering last year's
performance - 26 points against Navy and Michigan's
first ever triple-double (24 points, 10 rebounds, and 10
assists against North Carolina). But his team lost.
Now, he has only one more chance.
"Me and the NCAA just don't get along," said Grant
after his first two tournaments. Since then, however,
his relationship with the NCAA has changed. "He's
my buddy now. He was just messing around with me
for a couple of years. He told me he's going to be good
to me again this year. Mch
Buthwill he be good to Michigan?
"If he is, I'd probably run to halfcourt and do what I
always do in my house when there are people over
I'll get naked at halfcourt and start dancing."
He would then be in the limelight and exposed to
the country for the final time in his Michigan care&t
That's the way he would want it.
said. "It was too laid back."
Grant left an indelible impression, like he does on
most, on his baseball coach.
"He's the greatest athlete to ever come around here,"
Miller said. "I'll always remember him as a great per-
son and someone who could always make you laugh."
C risler Arena is hardly ever hazardous to one's
hearing - even if Glen Rice is tomahawking the ball
after an alley-oop, Loy Vaught is doing pull-ups on the
rim after a strenuous slam, or Bob Knight is in town.
But when Grant is waving his arms in the air,
unfamiliar decibel levels echo throughout.
Grant is an entertainer and the fans are his audience.
His routine includes patting the referees on their
rumps, countless facial expressions, dancing in front of
opposing coaches, and doing anything within his
power to get the fans involved.
"I'm a fun guy," Grant said with a smile. "I like to
have fun and also make sure the people are enjoying
the game. They pay money to watch us perform. When
they get pumped up, we get pumped up. Then they are
able to see a show."
But it's not only the fans that get to see his show.
His friends get a personal viewing of Grant's routine.
"Everybody thinks that I'm a comedian," Grant said.
"I make people laugh all the time by doing crazy stuff
around the house. Like, I might pour ketchup all over
my face like I'm bleeding.
"Or there might be a room full of people in a house
- nine or 10 girls and four or five guys. We'll all be
talking and I might leave the room and come back with
no clothes on and do a Pee-Wee Herman dance. I'll do*
whatever makes people laugh for a half an hour."
But Grant has a sentimental side also. After another
Michigan win, a 105-67 thrashing against Northwest-
ern, the usual post-game festivities took place in the
locker room. Slowly, each player exited after giving an
interview or two. While the room emptied, a mass of
cameramen and reporters gathered around the locker in
the far right-hand corner of the room.
The man situated there had droplets of sweat form-
ing on his forehead from the lights that glared down on
him. Each person would ask a question. Each person
would get a different answer in a pleasant tone of voice.
After a while, Grant excused himself and went over to a
small and malformed individual.
The child's arms were almost as long as his body
and as thin as a toothpick. His legs were bent sharply
at the joints; his mouth irregularly shaped. In short,
the little boy's figure was a mass of imperfections.
Grant walked over to his companion, picked him
up, whispered in his ear, and held him close while giv-
ing out the final interviews.
"His name was Marcus," Grant said. "We're friends.
I met him last year at one game. A lady brought him
up to me and introduced me to him and we took pic-
tures together. This was the first game he got to this
'M', Rice hit the road
For Pete's Sake
BY PETE STEINERT
Wolverine looks to
shake travel woes
All right, which Wolverine has
the key that will open,.the door to
Could it be All-Everything
guard Gary Grant, Michigan's
leader on and off the court, not to
mention its second all-time leading
Could it be Loy Vaught and
Terry Mills, who have enough po-
tential between the two of them to
stretch from here to Missouri and
Could it be silky smooth for-
ward Glen Rice, the Wolverines'
quiet scorer? Probably.,
IT'S NO SECRET that
when Rice scores, Michigan's
chances of winning skyrocket. The
Big Ten's leading scorer can fill a
basket as well as the Easter Bunny.
He may be one of a handful of
players who can make an alley-oop
slam dunk look commonplace.
The 6-7 junior had his share of
offensive outbursts this year.
-Against Minnesota, he poured
in a career-high 40 points. It was
the third best scoring total by a
Wolverine in Crisler Arena history.
-He scored 35 points on 15-of-
22 shooting in Michigan's 120-103
victory over Iowa in Ann Arbor.
-He had 33 points against
Michigan State last month in Ann
"HE'S AS TALENTED as
any forward in the country, I think,
because he can shoot the ball from
outside and hurt you inside," said
Unfortunately, the "as Rice
goes, so go the Wolverines" theory
works the other way, too. In all
seven of Michigan's losses this
year, Rice failed to reach his season
scoring average of 22.1 points per
Six of those losses came on the
road, where Rice averaged nine
fewer points than he did at Crisler
Arena. At home, he ranks among
the top offensive forwards in the
country. On the road, he lacks that
AGAINST NCAA tournament
teams Syracuse and Purdue, he shot
a combined 10-of-33 from the field
and scored only 23 points.
Maybe it's the lights. Maybe
it's the fans. Maybe it's the food.
One thing's for sure. For the
Wolverines to fare well in the
tournament, Rice must shed the
homer image. Raised in Flint after
moving from Arkansas in the sixth
grade, Rice was an All-State per-
former as a junior and senior at
Flint Northwestern. He was named
Michigan's Mr. Basketball in
He then chose to play college
basketball just 55 miles from his
hometown. At Crisler Arena, Rice
dazzles the home crowd with an ar-
ray of picture-perfect jump shots
and vicious dunks.
NOW is an opportune time for
him to show the rest of the country
what he can do. The Wolverines
hope Rice will pack his first-class
act and take it to Salt Lake City
where the Wolverines face -Boise
State Thursday night.
"I think Glen's got to play very
well for us to go far in the tourna-
ment," teammate Mark Hughes
said. "Rice does play well at home.
I'm sure he feels comfortable play-
ing here (Crisler). It's tougher on
the road because you got to get
more mentally prepared."
...Not m ood to g
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