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Anton Grady Commits to Cleveland State

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Anton Grady Commits to Cleveland State

Unread postby tommieskoski » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:43 pm

Rivals profile: http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball ... rady-96196
ESPN profile: http://insider.espn.go.com/mens-college ... id%3d96496
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http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/blog/ind ... st_15.html

Cleveland State men's basketball coach Gary Waters lands a big recruit: Terry Pluto
Published: Thursday, September 09, 2010, 7:08 PM Updated: Thursday, September 09, 2010, 11:53 PM
Terry Pluto, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio — For the past five years, Gary Waters has been trying to convince a major local men's basketball prospect to play at Cleveland State.

It finally has happened, as Cleveland Central Catholic's Anton Grady has given Waters and the Vikings an oral commitment. The 6-8 senior forward is considered one of the top players in Ohio by several recruiting services, and he had offers from Cincinnati, Dayton, Xavier and several Mid-American Conference schools.

"When Anton was a sophomore, [Michigan State coach] Tom Izzo was in our gym," said Central Catholic coach Kevin Noch. "He told me that he was very interested in Anton. Cleveland State is getting a special player."

Grady had a monster sophomore season when Central Catholic won the Division III state title. He averaged 11.6 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks. As a junior, he suffered a knee injury and missed part of the season due to arthroscopic surgery. He returned late in the season, helping the Ironmen to the regionals. He averaged 13.5 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.5 blocks.

"His knee is 100 percent now, and he was playing great by the end of the summer," said Eugene White, who has coached Grady for the past three summers in AAU basketball for the Friends for Life team. "He was getting interest from Michigan State, Purdue, schools like that once they saw he was healthy."

So why Cleveland State?

"They were there from the beginning for me," said Grady. "I want to stay close to home. It will mean a lot to my family to see me play. My cousin, Earl [Boykins], played for coach Waters at Eastern Michigan and liked him. I liked how coach Waters and coach [Jermaine] Kimbrough were real with me. Coach Waters looked me in the eye; he didn't always say what I wanted to hear. Me and coach Kimbrough, we're just real tight."

Loyalty is a word attached to Grady by the Ironmen coaches. They talk about how high school basketball has been dominated by off-season stories of a couple of high-profile players transferring.

"But Anton has stuck it out," said Noch. "We're not easy to play for. I'm an old-school coach. We practice at 5:30 in the morning. We want the kids to go to study halls and tutoring after school."

The Ironmen also play in a Hoosiers-style gym with a stage at one end, wooden bleachers on top of the court. It's a blast from the past where you'd expect to find old guys heaving up two-handed set shots at the basket, not one of the most up-tempo teams in the area.

"It's almost the norm for kids to jump from school to school," said Noch. "A lot of bigger schools wanted Anton, and I'm sure he has thought about it. But he has stayed at Central, and I give him a lot of credit for that. It's also why CSU is a good fit for him."

Grady said he never seriously considered leaving the private inner-city Cleveland school.

"This is the best place for me," he said. "They don't just care about getting me on the court. They work with my school stuff, and they want everything right so I can go to college."

Ironmen Athletic Director Xavier Smith said Grady has a 2.9 grade-point average in his "core courses." He will take the ACT test next month.

"Anton came from the public schools, and had a rough first year academically," he said. "But since then, he has been well over 3.0. We're proud of him."

ESPN.com rates Grady as the No. 3 player in Ohio and the No. 28 power forward in the country. NCAA rules prohibit college coaches from commenting on recruits until national letters of intent are signed.

"This is a very good 'get' for Gary Waters," said John Stovall, who rates players for ESPN and is a part owner and director of scouting for Prep Spotlight Scouting Service. "Gary and his staff have been on Anton since he was a freshman. His goal is to be close to the best players in the Cleveland area so they have a real shot at them out of high school -- or in case they go elsewhere and then decide they want to transfer back home."

Two of those type of transfers were George Tandy (Lincoln-West) and Chris Moore (St. Edward), who were important big men on the 26-11 Vikings who went to the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

Last season, they signed well-respected guard Anthony Wells from Shaker Heights. Strongsville's Tim Kamczyc scored 20 points in the Vikings' final game of their 16-17 season in 2009-10.

"Anton is a different level of player," said Stovall. "Purdue came on strong and offered him. He is very athletic, can run and pass very well for a big man. He needs to mature, and he really has a lot of upside."

The Ironmen coaches said another factor in picking CSU is the Vikings coaching staff. Unlike some of the major schools that backed off when he had his knee problems last season, CSU's interest remained strong.

The coaches said Grady was impressed with Butler's run to the NCAA final, and how the Bulldogs from the same Horizon League as CSU did it with mostly local players.

"That's true," said Grady. "I want to show players they can stay home and get it done here."

Waters was disappointed by last season, when his three junior college transfers failed to make significant contributions. All have left CSU, and Waters vowed to return to his usual policy of building a team with high school players and a few transfers from four-year schools.

"I love coach Waters for his vision for CSU," said Noch. "He stands for the right things. His teams play defense, and that is good for Anton. I know they will make him a better player and person."

Silk Stays at Home: http://ipsbasketball.com/silk_stays_home

Grady Staying Home: http://www.ohiohshoops.com/2010/09/grad ... -home.html
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