BY CORY NIDOH
Assistant Sports Editor
At East Stroudsburg University, there might not be anything bigger that is capturing the attention and unity of students, faculty, and the surrounding community than the ESU Men’s Basketball team getting national recognition.
The first Division II team to 20 victories, one of only two Division II teams that are unbeaten, ranked 6 in the country, in the top 5 in NCAA Division II in scoring margin, turnover margin, and steals—That is what ESU fans are getting to enjoy this basketball season as head coach Jeff Wilson has his team playing the best they ever have in school history.
The team is on top of the PSAC East conference and is destined to make a great run in the playoffs and NCAA tournament.
One of the players that have been a cog in the program’s success the past three years is junior guard, Whis Grant.
Grant, the standout guard who leads the exciting Warriors on the court is no stranger to national recognition and the success the Warriors have had over recent years.
Grant has been one of the key players to the team since he laced up his shoes and hit the hardwood his freshman year at ESU.
The Plymouth Meeting, PA native has been a part of two teams that made it to the NCAA tournament and received national ranking at some part of both seasons.
Not only was he on the teams, but led them in scoring both years as a freshman and sophomore.
Grant, who is currently ranked 12 in ESU history with 1,264 points shared his thoughts prior to the 75-67 victory over Kutztown University on this magical season so far.
CN: The team is now 19-0, what’s led to the success so far?
WG: “I think the preparation. The way we go in and out of practice and the coaching. Everyone is bringing their all and also the freshman and the recruiting. Rasheed Moore is averaging a double-double; he’s really brining a lot to the table after the loss of Terrance King. Jamal Nwaniemeka took over for Duane Johnson and he has been playing very well. Everybody is playing their part in the team’s success.”
CN: What is it like playing on a team that is getting national recognition?
WG: “It’s a great feeling. We get a lot of notoriety, everybody’s cheering for us, everybody has Warrior pride and everyone is feeling us. It’s a great feeling, everybody is happy and I’m just happy to be a part of something that’s accomplished so much.”
CN: What if anything, is different from this team compared to the last two years?
WG: “My role on my team. Coming in as a freshman I was one of the youngest players out there. My role was just to put the ball in the basket and be a role player. Now, it’s more of a leading character. It’s not just about me, I have to incorporate the team and get everybody on the same page and make sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to do.”
CN: What’s it like playing in the PSAC which is one of the better conferences in all of Division II?
WG: “It’s a good feeling that we are playing the very best and in such a good league. Also, being the top dog in the league is also a great feeling and something that we want to sustain throughout the season.”
CN: Why number 11?
WG: “I got it in high school when I made the JV team. I stuck with it as a sophomore when I was on varsity.”
CN: How long have you been playing the game and is there anyone who introduced you to basketball?
WG: “I’ve been playing the game since I was 6 or 7 years old. Just my father, I used to shoot around with my dad and really introduced me to the game. I watched Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson who were two of the biggest in the game and were my basketball idols from watching the game.”
CN: Any pre-game meal/music/rituals?
WG: “Nothing crazy. Pizza here or there or whatever I’m making at the house. Some grilled chicken and pasta is the usual meal. When it comes to music I’m a fan of everybody. But what really gets me pumped is seeing all of our fans out there and when they are playing our music out there. That’s when I really get going.”
CN: Is there a player you try to emulate?
WG: “For a while it was Dwayne Wade. I really tried to take after his game. I’m a two guard like he is and he can get to the basket, shoot the ball pretty well. Now he’s deteriorating a bit so I have to find a new player but it’s between Dwayne Wade and Steph Curry.”
CN: If you had to play one sport other than basketball which one would it be?
WG: “It would probably be football. I played football back in middle school and I wasn’t too bad. But when high school came around I said I should stick to just one so basketball it is.”
The Warriors’ doubleheader scheduled against Lock Haven for Wedensday night was postponed to tonight at 6pm (women’s) and 8 pm (men’s) due to incliment weather.
Grant and company return to Koehler Fieldhouse this Saturday, February 8, as part of Chamber of Commerce day against, Millersville University with tip-off scheduled for 3:00.
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