Bruins' Grover growing as player, could be big man on Div. I campus

January 17, 1995|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Sun Staff Writer

Potential is a word that fits Broadneck's Josh Grover. The gangling, 6-foot-10, 215-pound center has come a long way in four years, and could go a long way in the future.

Defensively, especially blocking shots, Grover may be the best center the No. 7 Bruins (8-1) have ever had.

Grover was cut as a 6-foot-2 freshman, made junior varsity as a 6-5 center in 10th grade and varsity as a junior 6-9 reserve who, he said, "didn't deserve to play because I wasn't in the shape I should have been."

An attitude change resulted in an improved work ethic and constant improvement, and Grover has become a key contributor in Broadneck's run to the Class 3A playoffs.

After a summer of camps and playground leagues, Grover followed a suggestion from assistant athletic director Tim McMullen to run cross country in the fall.

"I didn't win any races, but because of all the running, I don't get winded playing basketball anymore," said Grover. "I'm in the kind of shape you should be for basketball."

Suddenly, the 17-year-old has balanced his academic potential -- 3.8 grade-point average and 1,340 Scholastic Assessment Test score -- with athletic potential.

Division I schools such as American, William and Mary, Lafayette, Pennsylvania and Lehigh have shown interest, and Bruins coach Ken Kazmarek said Appalachian State has offered a scholarship. Grover has visited William and Mary and was to visit American last weekend.

"Josh would absolutely be a great project for a Division I school, and I believe he will get a Division I opportunity," said Kazmarek.

'He needs to continue working on his offensive moves, and produce more offensive output. But defensively, he may be the best at his size that we have had. His timing on blocking shots is outstanding and his defensive presence enhances everything we do, plus he can really pass the ball."

Grover, averaging nine points and nine rebounds, has not put up the type of numbers that a couple of his Broadneck predecessors did, but he has done many of the little things that win games.

He is also unique in that he is the first legitimate big man from the Broadneck district. Clint Holtz, a 1987 graduate who is 6-10, transferred from Severna Park to Broadneck, and 1991 graduate Boris Beck, a 7-2 center, was a foreign exchange student.

Holtz averaged 16.5 points his senior year, scored 532 points in two seasons and had a school-best 563 rebounds. He played at George Washington and Niagara and is finishing his final year of eligibility at Brock University in Canada, where he has drawn interest from NBA scouts.

Beck, from Germany, averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds while setting Broadneck a single-season record for field-goal percentage ( .682).

Beck was named to the Arundel Sun All-County First team, returned home to Germany and tried out for the National team, but he is no longer in basketball.

"Boris got cut from the National team because their Olympic team had three other 7-footers, and he never wanted to play in college over here," said Kazmarek. "He just wanted to go home."

Grover and his family moved from Rhode Island about five years ago when his father, Jim, a Naval Academy graduate and career Navy man, was transferred to Washington.

"I was new in the area and didn't know what to expect when I went out for basketball my freshman year," said Grover. "Getting cut as a freshman was a disappointment, but it was fair because I was out of shape.

"My JV season was pretty good and then, last year, I began to realize that I had to work harder if I wanted to start and play in college. Mr. Kazmarek has always been straightforward with me and has made me aware that I need to work on my offensive moves and physical strength."

Kazmarek has moved Grover away from the basket to permit a chance at more short jumpers up and over the crowd, and it is starting to pay dividends.

"Josh made a couple big baskets for us in the Annapolis game," said Kazmarek, referring to Grover's six points in the third period that enabled the Bruins to overcome a seven-point deficit and go on to a 59-56 victory Jan. 6.

"And he does a great job passing the ball, which adds a dimension to our offense."

Before the season, Kazmarek said he hoped Grover would be an impact player by February, and the center appears to be on schedule. His constant improvement could contribute to a region title and berth in the 3A Final Four at College Park.

"That's what the seniors want," said Grover. "I want to play Division I basketball and would love to have a shot at a state championship."

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