Wings: Illinois opened last season 9-5 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten. Then on Jan. 19, Jacob Grandison was inserted into the starting lineup against Penn State. He didn’t do much, scoring three points with three assists and three turnovers in 14 minutes, but the Illini won easily and, interestingly enough, something changed. With Grandison in a new starting role for all but one of its remaining games, Illinois won 15 of its final 17 games. Coincidence? Not exactly. Everyone around the program agrees that Illinois played its best basketball with Grandison taking on a larger role. The 6-6, 210-pound wing man does everything asked of him. Over those final 17 games, he averaged six points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and made 66.7 percent of his 2s and 38.5 percent of his 3s in 20.4 minutes per game. There’s little reason to think Grandison, a 2019 transfer from Holy Cross, can’t replicate that production, and maybe even add a little more scoring pop.
Jacob Grandison’s stats don’t pop off the page, but he helped Illini win after entering the starting lineup. (Aaron Doster / USA Today) (A nice photo)
The concerns that I had with Grandison’s departure are the following: 1) He was the last of our 6 recruits in late 2016 or 2017 and had few, if any, other D-1 offers, 2) There were reports that early in the 2018-19 OOC schedule (where HC was playing well and had gone 9-4) that he was thinking of transferring and 3) He appeared to make his decision to transfer to Illinois after Carmody retired but before HC had hired Nelson and JG knew who the new coach would be.
He certainly had every right to transfer and he was moving to a higher level but his departure didn’t seem to reflect much concern for HC (the program that took a chance on him when he was lightly recruited) and his classmates (Butler, Copeland, Green, Faw & Niego).
In any case, his and Caleb Green’s departures along with Jehyve’s graduation were the first dominos to fall in the ugly ‘19-‘20 season.
Last Edit: Oct 31, 2021 21:21:22 GMT -5 by Xmassader
Most of us would like to think that student-athletes come to Holy Cross for the education; strong alumni network; their future teammates and other benefits besides a commitment to a specific coach so that if the coach leaves for whatever reason there is strong enough reason to stay. Unfortunately, that probably is more wishful thinking when it comes to most recruits today and the transfer portal has made it that much easier to move on to perceived greener pastures.
I suspect that many, if not most coaches, encourage this personal commitment to the coach rather than the school.
I get the sense the “band of brothers” model is dead. Perhaps these kids and their parents feel they’ve sacrificed a lot as a family over many years to get to the D1 level and they’ve earned the opportunity to do whatever it takes to get meaningful minutes at the most relevant program possible. I also suspect there may be some unrealistic expectations of a professional career working in the background. Sadly, the brotherhood aspect therefore takes a back seat. The system, from AAU up, is set up in a manner that reinforces this way of thinking.
Most of us are motivated by what we think is best for HC. Obviously Grandison & other transferees made their decisions based on what they perceived to be in their best interests. They chose what they believed was best for them, not what was best for HC. Why the criticism? Most would gladly welcome a high caliber student athlete who transferred to HC from another school. Never read of any concerns raised about the transfer of Gerrale Gates from UNO to HC. There was not even the slightest hint of any concern about his commitment to UNO. There were no high sounding statements about him abandoning his teammates or the school. His commitment to UNO? Well, I guess that was for him to decide. We were happy he transferred to HC. And, HC has been the beneficiary of other transfers without one word of concern for the other college or his ethics uttered, not a peep.It was his decision.
Most would gladly welcome a high caliber student athlete who transferred to HC from another school.
Of course we would! That's because it would be evidence that the student-athlete recognized his/her initial error in judgement by not choosing to go to Holy Cross in the first place. Everyone's entitled to one mistake, right?
While the above is in jest, let me share what I hope is at least a tangential story.
I happened to be put in charge of a division with extremely high turnover and, you might guess, along with that low morale. The latter the cause of the former. Other companies were "poaching" our well-trained but low tenured employees who they could entice by paying them a couple or three thousand dollars more which was cheaper for them than hiring green employees that they'd have to train and wait until they knew what they were doing.
So, we lose an employee and after 1-2 months he realizes that, yeah, he's getting paid more but the working conditions are terrible and his work load is considerably more than at our company and he doesn't have as good benefits. He regrets his decision big time. He asks (begs, more like it) to come back for the same pay he had when he left. His manager says he was a very good employee but very hesitant to take him back. What message will it send? I know the young guy, we talk and I can see he recognizes his move was the biggest mistake of his short career.
I talk to his manager and while we normally would never take someone back (others might think "I can leave, they'll always take me back just like him"), I see this as an exceptional case and recommend to the manager that we hire him back.
We do. He turns out to be the most loyal employee we had and, as I expected, he spread the word within not only his district but the entire division "don't leave because the grass is NOT greener at the other companies. I know from hard experience." Turnover in the division stops dead in its tracks. As for morale, there were other steps that had to be taken but they were and the division got turned around.
I wonder how many of our transfers to other schools regret their decision?
To continue... I remember howling the same hypocritical pieties over the loss of Bobby Kelly and Kevin Stacom. How could they do this? Where was their commitment to their teammates? To HC? Then the sour grapes clincher: These guys are not real students. They don't belong here anyway. Who needs 'em! And George Connor & Swiacki? Don't even mention them. I was so silly. However when the great McCaffrey transferred from UNH and the great Fenerty transferred from LSU to HC. Whoopee! In the final analysis the decision to stay or leave rests squarely on the student's shoulders. If it's a mistake it's his mistake or if it works out, good for him, making the right decision for himself. Notwithstanding any muddle-headed shallow pities I may have opined in the past, I like to believe I have matured a bit over the years.
And Eddie Thurman from Wake, and Champ Godbolt from Maine, and Jim Runcie from Virginia. We can go on and on and on. GB wasn't afraid to go looking for transfers and to jump to a better gig himself when one came available. I don't know wny Jacob left but if he thought his talents might be better showcased with better teammates on a bigger stage--he may have been right.
There is a natural(?) tendency to mythologize the past. The good old days... men were men, strong, loyal, true & honorable. The good old days are in reality merely old with some good, some bad but definitely human with all its implications.
And Eddie Thurman from Wake, and Champ Godbolt from Maine, and Jim Runcie from Virginia. We can go on and on and on. GB wasn't afraid to go looking for transfers and to jump to a better gig himself when one came available.
George B left HC ONLY because we went no schollie. If schollies had remained, so would George.