Jourdan Grant had been to UMBC a couple times before making his official visit to campus last month. The Archbishop Spalding senior liked what he had seen during his earlier trips to Catonsville, but something was different this time around.
“I just finally saw people walking around, communicating with each other. It’s very diverse, which is what I like. … It just opened my eyes,” Grant said Sunday. “I know they don’t have a football team, so everybody’s looking forward to basketball. They’re very supportive – I like that.”
A little more than two weeks later, Grant decided that UMBC’s “comfortable” campus was where he wanted to be. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound combo guard committed to the Retrievers on Sunday over Central Connecticut State, Norfolk State and Towson. He also received interest from Bucknell, DePaul, Elon, George Mason, George Washington and Quinnipiac.
The reaction to Grant’s decision to stay close to home for college has been nothing but positive so far.
“Everyone is so upbeat right now, just showing me love,” he said. “My Twitter is blowing up, my phone is blowing up. It’s just a great experience. I’ve been working hard all summer and the last three years. I didn’t even know coming into high school that I would actually be good at basketball. I came into high school for baseball, as a high-DI recruit for baseball. Freshman year I was like, ‘I like basketball.’ I always had basketball dreams – look where I’m at now.”
Grant said he grew up following the “North Carolinas, Marylands and Dukes” of the world, but quickly grew fond of UMBC’s coaching staff during the recruiting process. During an unofficial trip to Catonsville in August, Grant got a tour of campus, and last month he spent quality time with coach Aki Thomas and several players.
“When I went on my official visit, the players were just welcoming and I felt comfortable with the team,” Grant said. “The coaches treated me tremendously. They treated me like I was on the team already. I just felt comfortable with them.”
A second-team All-Baltimore Catholic League selection as a junior, Grant is rated the No. 37 senior prospect in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area by DMVElite.com. He is the Retrievers’ third commitment for 2014, joining shooting guard Malcolm Brent (a Silver Spring native playing at Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire) and forward Lamell Washington (a Frederick native and former Spalding player who is doing a post-grad year at Fishburne Military Academy in Virginia).
“I think it’s great that [Thomas is] recruiting the area,” Grant said. “A lot of schools, like Maryland, they go out of the state to recruit. I think it’s a good look to get people from the area.”
Grant will join a UMBC backcourt next year that features several other local players, most notably former John Carroll star Rodney Elliott and Wofford transfer Bryan Harris, a Southern High grad. Grant, a 3.4 student considering a major in business or accounting, is excited to join the competition.
“They definitely see me contributing to the team. I definitely want to contribute,” Grant said. “They can’t promise playing time, but if I work hard enough, I’m pretty sure I’m going to get playing time. I’m definitely looking forward to playing. I just want to get out there and do my thing.”