During his tenure at Clemson, no one’s questioned Brad Brownell’s ability to handle the strategic side of coaching. No, the one key reservation ACC observers have had is this: They wondered if Brownell, who came to Clemson from Wright State in the MAC (and UNC-Wilmington before that) would be able to recruit ACC-level talent to the Tigers.
Until today, those reservations seem well-founded. Brownell’s recruiting track record at Clemson was filled mostly with sleepers and near misses. But then at around 9:30 this morning, 2014 small forward Donte Grantham sent out this tweet:
— Paul George (@DonteGrantham32) October 4, 2013
That signaled a key recruiting victory for Brownell and the Tigers over Michigan, Grantham’s other finalist.
How important? Grantham is being referred to as the highest-rated recruit of Brownell’s tenure. He is rated No. 66 nationally in the Class of 2014 by Rivals, No. 79 by ESPN and the No. 21 small forward by Scout. Both Scout and Rivals rate Grantham as a four-star prospect, while ESPN has him as a three-star recruit.
Scout’s Rob Harrington describes Donte Grantham as a “lithe, fluid athlete who’s very coordinated and possesses outstanding ball skills.”
So he’s quick and athletics enough to play the 3, but also has the size to be a 4. So why isn’t he rated higher? There are apparently still questions about his jumper and as Harrington points out, there just happen to be a ton of talented combo forwards in this class.
Grantham originally wasn’t in the class, but after winning 2013 state player of the year honors a Martinsburg (W. Va.) High (where he averaged 18.3 ppg and 9.1 rpg) he opted to spend a postgrad year at Hargrave Military Academy . This looked like it might be a problem for Clemson, as the Tigers were originally one of the schools that pursued Grantham his senior season, along with Miami. By opting instead to go to Hargrave instead of signing late with the Tigers, Grantham seemed to be indicating he thought he could “do better” than Clemson.
Grantham’s summer performance with D.C. Assault did bring in high-profile suitors such as Michigan, Cincinnati, Marquette, UConn and Miami. The Wolverines, in particular, made a strong push.
But in the end, Grantham’s comfort level with Brownell and Clemson assistant Steve Smith, Grantham’s primary recruiter, proved to be a huge factor.
“He has a great relationship with those guys,” Hargrave coach A.W. Hamilton. “And they have done an unbelievable job recruiting him.”
Grantham joins Gabe Devoe, a shooting guard from Shelby (N.C.) High, as the other member of Clemson’s 2014 recruiting class. When Grantham arrives in the fall of 2014, he’ll join a group of wing forwards that includes K.J. McDaniels (sr.), Jaron Blossomgame (r-so.) and Austin Ajukwa (so.)