Ohio State has produced several talented guards over the course of the last few years, and recent commit Austin Grandstaff believes he can join the ranks of the Buckeye greats when he arrives on campus next fall.
“I’m going to be a combo guard like Evan Turner and Jon Diebler,” Grandstaff said. “I can come off screens, bring the ball up and be a scorer and a playmaker.”
The Rockwall forward said he is planning on making improvements in his lateral quickness and ball handling skills before he wraps up his high school career and heads to Columbus. Right now, his game is tailored more toward a small forward than the combo guard position Ohio State coach Thad Matta expects from him in the fall of 2015.
“I just want to be a lot stronger and a lot quicker so I’m ready to play at that level,” Grandstaff said. “I want to get a lot better defensively as well. I’ve just been working out a lot, trying to get bigger and stronger. I’m trying to play more of a point guard so I’ve been working on my handles and stuff like that.”
Grandstaff made his commitment to the Buckeyes in May, becoming the third recruit – second from Texas – to sign with the program. Playing in a prestigious basketball conference like the Big 10 is one of the reasons Grandstaff said helped him make his final decision.
“The Big 10 is probably the biggest basketball conference in the country,” he said. “To come in to play and play as a freshman, and the relationship that I have with the coaching staff, those were the deciding factors.”
Landing Grandstaff was no small feat for Matta and the Ohio State coaching staff. Last season, the junior led the state of Texas in scoring during the regular season, and put on a show during the playoffs.
“In our two playoff games, I had 51 and 45 (points),” Grandstaff said. “That just kind of helped me get put on a national stage, the fact that I can score like that. When I did it two times in a row, it just kind of showed that I can do it consistently.”
Despite his stellar scoring performances during the playoffs, Grandstaff was left unsatisfied. After his 51 and 45-point games in Rockwall’s first two victories of the playoffs, the forward followed with 25 points on 7-26 shooting in a hard-fought loss against Berkner.
Next season, Grandstaff said he is eying a state title.
“I want to try to get a state championship, I haven’t had one yet and that’d be big,” he said. “I led the state of Texas in scoring last year and I had a couple big games in the playoffs, but I want to try to go deep into the playoffs and try to get a state title.”
Along with his unrivaled scoring ability, Grandstaff said he is looking to bring some of the intangibles that make him successful at the prep level to Ohio State next fall.
“I think I can get them a lot of scoring and leadership as well because I’m kind of a natural leader,” he said. “Even though I’m a freshman, I think I can lead. I can bring a lot of scoring and intensity and just wanting to win.”
Grandstaff said he is hoping to bring more than just his game, but also another top Texas recruit. Elijah Thomas, the state’s No. 1 prospect, is one of Grandstaff’s good friends, and Grandstaff said he is trying to get Thomas to join him and fellow Texas prospect and Ohio State commit Mickey Mitchell to join the Buckeye family. If Thomas chooses to play with Grandstaff and Mitchell next fall, there may be a new favorite to win the Big 10 Championship.
Until then, Grandstaff said he is going to continue working on his game, leading his high school team to a state title, and preparing to make an impact at the Division I level.