By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
Basketball fans, especially those in Ellis County, who haven’t already taken an interest in the West Texas A&M University men’s basketball program should do so — quickly.
Sure, the (32-1) Buffs are currently the third-ranked team in Division II and are set to host the opening three rounds of the 64-team playoff. Canyon, Texas, is also home to sophomore guard Qua Grant, who is a 2018 Waxahachie graduate and this year’s Lone Star Conference Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 20.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game during the regular season. He shot an impressive 47.2 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc, all while scoring in double figures a jaw-dropping 28 times over 30 starts.
Grant scored a career-high 32 points against conference-rival Angelo State on Jan. 16, later matching that total in the LSC Tournament. His All-LSC defensive-team honors came after he averaged 2.4 steals and 7.6 rebounds per game.
Grant was named to the All-LSC first-team following his freshman campaign, as well.
Grant followed up his astounding regular season by dropping 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists against Texas A&M University-Commerce in the LSC Tournament quarterfinals. He then poured in a game-high 32 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc with six rebounds and three assists against Angelo State in the tournament semis.
Grant and the Buffs then defeated No. 9 St. Edward’s, 81-65, in the LSC tournament championship. The victory was the 23rd-consecutive for WTAMU and has the Buffs prepared to host the NCAA Division II South Central Regional on March 14-17 at First United Bank Center in Canyon.
The Buffs will open against eighth-seeded Colorado Mesa in the round of 64.
In addition to Grant, WTAMU head men’s basketball coach Tom Brown was named the LSC Coach of the Year (third consecutive), while Grant and Joel Murray were named to the All-LSC first-team and All-LSC defensive team. Derrick Geddis and Jon’il Fugett received All-LSC third-team and honorable mention nods, respectively.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith