How does somebody trade the best player in the world? Well Curt Styres did just that two years ago when he shipped John Grant Jr along with Mac Allen and two first round picks (2011, 2013) to the Colorado Mammoth. At the time, the Knighthawks had missed the play-offs the past two seasons and Grant was still recovering from a near career ending injury that saw a virus attack his surgically repaired knee. Styres wanted to build a young team and he felt his team needed a change and that became available when Matt Vinc, who was drafted by the Mammoth in the Orlando Titans dispersal draft, told them he wouldn’t be able to report due to work.
So open up this week’s gift – a one on one with an often misunderstood guy, this week on the OTCB Podcast.
In his first threee games of the 2012 season, John Grant Jr, bolted out of the gate recording 30 points and becoming only the fifth player in NLL history to join the 1000pts club. “I don’t think I’m playing that great, but it helps when you have guys putting up hat tricks everygame.” Makes sense. You could put a one-armed bandit out there and he could probably put up decent numbers playing with the likes of Gavin Prout, Sean Pollock, Jamie Lincoln, Jordan McBride and Adam Jones.
The latter three have been a huge inspirtation to Grant who has taken on the nickname “Daddy” and he’s OK with it. But with that father figure role, he realizes that he has to change some of his actions that he was known for. As a young player entering the league, Grant was thrown right into the fire and immediately jumped into the lifestyle of a professional athlete but he was also his worst enemy. “Sometimes I’d let my emotions get the best of me and it would take me right out of the game mentally. I’ve been talking with (Mammoth Assistant Coach) Ed Comeau and he’s really helped me realize that these young guys are looking up to me and I have to set a great example.”
That example has been set as Grant has relocated his family to the Denver area and was in town well before the season started this year so that he could work with the team’s strength and conditioning coach in order to be in the best shape he can be.
While his future hall of fame career was taking shape in Rochester, Grant didn’t always make himself well liked by those outside his close circle of family and friends. Often seen as a bit of a recluse, the ’selfish, hotheaded and immature’ player who was winning major title after major title, is able to look back and realize what he was doing wasn’t always the right way.
Now opening himself up little by little, he’s joined the twitter game (@johngrantjr24)hoping to “let people know a little bit more about but more so to keep intouch with all the guys around the league.”
Along with the “WolfPack” -the Mamooth rookies’ self-proclaimed name, Grant is having fun again and it shows when you watch him play the game. He’s got that extra bounce in his step just like when Knighthawk fans watched him play along side Shawn Williams, Curt and Derek Malawsky.
But it’s not all fun and games, well adult games that is. When asked what’s something outside of lacrosse that he hasn’t yet accomplished but looks forward to, the answer came out quick and heartfelt. “I want to be a great father!”
Well he’s playing ‘Daddy’ in a dual role these days. For Gabby, his young daughter and a group of young wolves hungry to feed on the NLL. For those that know Grant, know that he would much rather be one of the young wolves than the one responsible for showing them the ropes but so far, its come naturally to him like a no-look backhand pass from the top of the powerplay to Adam Jones on the crease.
Last night on the Off the Crosse-Bar radio show, we had three amazing guests.
Rhys Duch, Mr Clutch as some enjoy calling him, joined us off the top to talk about the Stealth’s first win, what wasn’t working right and what Chris Hallmean’s to the team.
Chris Levis, is off to his best start as a goalie in the NLL and he along with grant are in awe at some of the things the young wolfpack memebers of the Mammoth are doing.
Jake Elliott,voice of the WLA and wester scout of the Minnesota Swarm helped break down Monday’s WLA draft and talked about the impact Mark Matthews could/would have for the Langley Thunder if he decided to play out west this summer.
If you missed last night’s show or any of the past shows, listen here.
Teddy Jenner is one the leading sources for lacrosse information. He comes by his love of lax honestly with a lifetime of experience, two Mann Cup championships and six years of play in the NLL. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter @OffTheCrosseBar or catch him on Team 1410 radio in Vancouver, B.C., as the host and producer of the Off the Crosse-Bar Radio Show In 2012, he was awarded the BCLA's Norm Wright Merit Award- handed out to a member of the media deemed to have have contributed to the promotion of lacrosse.
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