Over 600 basketball players transferred during 2016, according to an NCAA report, very few of those transfer a second time especially prior to stepping on the court of their new team.
It hasn’t been an easy couple of years for sophomore Austin Grandstaff, who sat out the 2016-2017 after transferring from Ohio State and then again from Oklahoma before landing at DePaul.
After transferring to DePaul on June 29,2016, the coaching staff emphasized allowing Grandstaff to feel at home and subsequently develop as a player.
“What I think we wanted to do with Austin is allow him to find a home, and by that everybody’s home base makes them more comfortable so I think he is in a very comfortable place,” DePaul head coach Dave Leitao said, “Now the process of growing, growing as a player obviously, but growing as a person and as a student is something that he is in the process of doing.”
Over a year into his time with the Blue Demons, the sophomore guard feels more comfortable with coach Leitao and this staff than he has at his previous two stops.
“I’m starting to get a lot more comfortable with coach Leitao I have trouble with that often, I’ve transferred two times so I struggle with that,” Grandstaff said, “But I feel closer to coach Leitao than any of my other coaches by far so that makes it easier to play for him.”
The Rockwall, Texas native has made some adjustments of his own at DePaul preaching patience and staying focused as things he’s learned from his stops with Oklahoma and Ohio State.
“Patience I feel and trusting the process, I feel like at those two places I was rushing things and I wasn’t patient and didn’t really let things fall into place,” Grandstaff said, “Then also staying more focused and that’s what I’ve tried to carry over at DePaul.”
After having a year to adjust to the system and get settled, the Blue Demon’s head coach has been pleased with his day to day habits and ability to take these negative moments and help bring his teammates along this season.
“We have a lot of guys that can speak through their experiences and help us from a leadership standpoint,” Leitao said, “Austin primarily through stops at Oklahoma and Ohio State that weren’t positive all the time can speak to those negative circumstances to kind of help bring others along so when there’s a level of frustration things that you don’t understand he can help guys get through that.”
On the court, the sophomore guard has found a role as a knock down shooter off the bench to help a Blue Demons squad that shot just 32 percent from behind the arc a year ago. Junior guard Eli Cain believes Grandstaff is one of the best shooters in the country and might surprise some people this season.
“One of the best shooters I’ve ever played with, open gym when there is not really a lot of defense you want to have Austin on your team because you’re going to win, so give Austin the ball and let him do his thing,” Cain said.
Although he is a good three pointer shooter, Grandstaff is mindful of not simply settling for threes, but attacking the basket as well, something coach Leitao and the staff have encouraged him to do.
“He likes when I make plays off the dribble too, he always tells me not to settle for threes because of my playmaking ability and my basketball IQ, but he’s definitely comfortable with me shooting threes,” Grandstaff said.
Settled into a new arena and new team, Grandstaff and the Blue Demons both hope to begin a new chapter with a turnaround of the basketball program.