In what can now be looked back upon as the golden age of sports at the College in the late 1980s, there was one student athlete who left the most lasting impression in the annals of its history.
Greg Grant, a diminuitive guard who didn’t even attend the College for his freshman year, scored more points than anyone in the history of the College’s men’s basketball program, broke the NCAA Division III single-season scoring record and is the only player in the history of the College to be drafted to the NBA.
For Grant, playing in the NBA was a culmination of everything that he worked for in his life.
“It’s a dream come true,” Grant said. “It’s the ultimate goal. Every football player wants to be in the NFL, every baseball player wants to be in the major leagues, and most basketball players (want to go to the NBA). The NBA was always my goal, and most people thought it was impossible. Especially when you’re here, it pretty much is impossible for most people. But that was my goal. So to make it, and to make it coming from here, made it even more special.”
Just as important to Grant was not just playing in the NBA, but having the honor of being drafted as well.
“That was big, to hear my name called (and the College),” Grant said. “It was only two rounds, so it was only 52 players in the country picked that night, and to be picked just topped off everything. It was every bit as special as playing in the NBA, being picked that night.”
Grant, who attended Trenton High School — which was one of the top schools in the state at the time, according to Grant — averaged 22 points per game his senior season. However, Grant didn’t receive any scholarship offers coming out of high school.
“Just no one felt interested,” Grant said. “Maybe they thought I was too small. But, it just didn’t work out.”
Grant went on to attend his freshman year at another school, but then came to the College where he immediately lit up the basketball scene. After breaking the College’s single-game scoring record by dropping over 50 points his first season, Grant would go on to have what is widely regarded as the best career in the College’s storied athletic program.
Grant was honored and humbled by his induction into the Hall of Fame, despite all of the other accolades he has accumulated over his life.
“It’s one of the greatest feelings, because everything accumulated because of this,” Grant said. “You know, me playing here, everything else that happened here is because of this. So to be recognized by your peers and the people who watched you when you were, you know, 19, 20 years old, it’s special.”
Now beyond his playing days (he played seven seasons in the NBA with four different teams from 1989-1996), Grant works with the College’s Bonner Society with his organization “G Grant 94 ft. Academic Sports Academy, Inc.,” which he runs in order to give kids a chance to have the same opportunities that he had.
“(I wanted to be) able to give somebody the same chance that I got,” Grant said. “I got a break, I got a lucky break, for someone to want me to come to (the College), and then I had to really do what I had to do. I just wanted to really go back to my community and show kids it’s not impossible to do something amazing, and that’s what really got me started.”
For Grant, as important as playing in the NBA was to him, preparing himself for life after basketball was just as important.
“I had really good coaching, I was well disciplined for life after basketball,” Grant said. “Whether I played in the NBA or not, I knew I was going to be a successful person because of my experience here with the academic standards and just with the coaching I had. It just really shaped me and built me for a long life after basketball.”