Any athlete will admit that it is a colossal commitment to play at the collegiate level, but for DePaul men’s basketball players Austin Grandstaff and Max Strus, that commitment comes with sitting on the bench for a season.
According to NCAA rules, players who transfer from one four-year college to another must spend a whole academic year in residence at their new school before being allowed to play for the team or receive travel expenses. While some athletes may see this as a disadvantage, the DePaul men’s basketball transfers are taking full advantage of their situation.
Grandstaff is a sophomore point guard who transferred from Ohio State, and Strus is a junior point guard who came to DePaul from Lewis University. Both players agreed that it was much different, and better, than their previous schools.
“The community here is a lot closer than at my last school,” Grandstaff said. “I feel really welcomed here.”
Because they can’t play in the games this season, Austin and Max have acquired special roles in the meantime.
“We are on the scout team,” Strus said, “We look at scouting reports for the teams we play, know their plays, and study their best players.”
By doing this, Grandstaff and help make sure the team is fully prepared for each of their matchups. Besides this, they are continually working to improve their personal games, so they will be as ready as possible when they can finally begin playing.
As with most sports, work ethic plays a huge role in basketball.
“(Strus) is such a hard worker,” assistant coach Pat Sellers said. “We sometimes have to tell him to slow down a little, and for a coach, that’s like heaven. His work ethic has rubbed off on (Grandstaff) too, and has pushed both of them to the next level.”
For transfer students, it can sometimes be hard to gel with a team that has already been playing together for a year or two. But for Grandstaff and Strus, fitting in has been no problem. They both agreed that their transitions into DePaul were easy, and that they like the rest of the guys on the team.
“They’ve accepted me, and that’s awesome,” Grandstaff said of the team.
Sellers agreed with this too.
“The team is helping [Max and Austin] deal with not playing,” he said. “Their presence has brought up the intensity of practice, which is great.”
However, both players are anxious to get back on the court.
“I cannot wait,” Strus said. “It’s been so hard watching the games and not being able to play.”