Name: Earl Grant
Current job: Head Coach, College of Charleston
Previous jobs: Assistant Clemson, Assistant Wichita State, Assistant Winthrop, Assistant The Citadel
Career head coaching record (conference record): 101-65 (51-35)
NCAA Tournament Appearances (record): 1 (0-1)
Evidence of recruiting skills: Grant is credited with bringing in KJ McDaniels and Jaron Blossingame at Clemson, and tutoring lesser known guards into strong threats, like Charleston’s Grant Riller.
Items of interest: Coached under Clemson’s Brad Brownell and under Gregg Marshall at both Wichita State and Winthrop, as Marshall elevated both programs to the top of their respective conferences.
More on why Grant made a good candidate at Charleston (which still applies for St. John’s).
On court: Did you know that the College of Charleston has won an average of 25 games the past three seasons? Frustrating on defense, they work opponents to the end of the shot clock routinely with tough defense, especially in transition.
On offense, they can be deliberate as well, but are excellent at minimizing turnovers and getting shots at the rim. The duo of Grant Riller at point and Jarrell Brantley at forward have been excellent for years.
This team is disciplined, reflecting a long tutelage under Gregg Marshall and Brad Brownell.
Why he’d be a good fit: Earl Grant wouldn’t make Mike Francesca take notice, he wouldn’t be splashy on the marquees, he wouldn’t immediately get a Jon Rothstein nickname.
But, described as “blue collar” by Gregg Marshall, a coach who squeezes toughness out of his teams, Grant would create a Red Storm team that would be tough and relentless, if he can get the right players.
He’s the type of coach who might not need a parade of four-star recruits to play good basketball; but judging by his work at Clemson, he could get those players to come.
Grant seems like the type of coach who won’t be outworked, coupled with actual skill in getting players to play and win at a fairly high level.
Why it wouldn’t work: As a player and coach who has spent most of his years in the south — in fact, he is coaching in his hometown — he would need some aggressive work to get the lay of the land with New York area coaches.
His lack of splashy national accolades could hold him back. It’s important to note that Clemson has been a steady good-not-great until last year’s breakout into the Sweet Sixteen; Grant may have a slow build like his former boss. Or, given a less brutal conference than the ACC, Grant could work his way into tournament consideration.
But the recruiting, and speed of the build, is a little hard to guess. Could he find a staff to help him bridge the gap between his teaching and getting good players?
What’s getting in the way: Just not that sexy. As a player and coach who has spent much of his coaching life in the south and midwest, he lacks connection to the New York scene. Fans want a big splash, some press conference sizzle, even though the press conference doesn’t go onto the record books as a win or a loss.
Final word: Probably not — this is simply the “coach you should look at” that would be a sneaky-good fit.