Freshman Focus: Grant Gelon

  • 06/27/2016 10:36 am in

“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s four incoming freshmen. Over the next couple of weeks, we will take an in-depth look at all four newcomers. Today: Grant Gelon.

Crown Point coach Clint Swan was concerned.

As he prepared for the 2015-16 season, his senior leader Grant Gelon was about to face a new level of scrutiny.

After a strong summer with Indiana Elite on the adidas Gauntlet circuit, Gelon received a scholarship offer from Indiana and committed shortly after during an unofficial visit in August. An unheralded, two-star prospect, not only was Gelon going to face questions from Indiana fans about his standing in the recruiting rankings, Swan knew that opposing teams would be lining up all season to take their best shot at an IU recruit.

“I don’t think he was prepared – I don’t think anyone would be prepared – for the attention that was going to come his way,” Swan said. “He definitely had a big bullseye on his back. So we were concerned, to be quite honest with you, we were like, ‘how is this going to go?'”

So, how did it go?

Crown Point, which finished the season 19-9, won four games in the state tournament before falling to Warsaw in the Regional championship.

Individually, Gelon averaged 14.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game and shot 38.9 percent from behind the 3-point line on his way to being named to the Indiana All-Star team.

“He handled it extremely well,” Swan told Inside the Hall. “He continued to stay within the framework of how we wanted him to play. He didn’t try going off on his own. He played extremely hard. He continued to develop himself as a player and he didn’t let all of the attention get to him. It didn’t end up being a negative aspect of his season.”

Gelon has long been known in the Crown Point community school corporation as a shooter. Swan, who is entering his 11th season as the coach at Crown Point, says he became aware of Gelon as he came up through the middle school ranks.

His shooting prowess comes from a combination of a natural gift and countless hours in the gym. It wasn’t uncommon for Swan to have to kick Gelon out of the gym after a Crown Point practice so he could lock up the gym and go home. He would often open the gym so Gelon could come shoot on his own. The shooting gun, which rebounds shots and throws them back automatically, has taken on significant mileage due to Gelon’s use.

“Nobody has worked harder at perfecting that craft than Grant has,” Swan said. “He’s worked very hard at making himself into a better shooter and not just relied on his gift as a shooter alone.”

That work ethic Swan references figures heavily into the equation when you look at the reasons Indiana was the only Big Ten school to offer Gelon a scholarship.

It was a move that was met with skepticism from fans and media alike, but Indiana has a track record with under the radar players with a work ethic. Those who have been most successful in Bloomington under Tom Crean have demonstrated a willingness to put in extra work to reach their potential.

That’s not to say that Gelon should be compared to guys like OG Anunoby or Victor Oladipo – no one should – but the staff clearly believes they can develop him into a rotation player who can provide elite-level shooting.

As the Hoosiers enter another season with a preseason top 15 ranking and significant expectations, Gelon may not figure much into the immediate plans in terms of playing time.

That, however, isn’t necessarily a bad thing in Swan’s eyes.

“I think he can sit and watch and glean from the players that they have there right now and can pick up on not just how to play, but how to carry yourself,” Swan said. “He can learn on a day-to-day basis what the expectations are. I think that’s going to help him immensely.”

It’s likely to be a much different situation than the one that another Crown Point product, Spike Albrecht, faced when he headed off to the Big Ten.

“Compare that to Spike Albrecht when he went to Michigan, they had two point guards,” Swan said. “They had Trey Burke and Spike Albrecht. He was going to have to play and that kind of scared me a little bit. I thought that was sort of alarming that he was going to be called upon to play immediately. I think Grant is going to be able to get acclimated in summer workouts and practices and fall workouts. He’s going to be able to see how those guys carry themselves and see how they play. He’ll be able to bring himself along at a comfortable pace.”

Now that Gelon, along with Devonte Green and Curtis Jones, is in Bloomington, Swan’s hope is that he’s helped him prepare for what lies ahead.

Regardless of how his career turns out in terms of on the floor production, Swan says he wants fans to know how Gelon is viewing the opportunity to put on an IU uniform.

“It’s not something he’s taking for granted. He knows there’s a huge responsibility that comes with it,” he said. “That’s why he’s continued to work extremely hard since our season ended. He’s done everything he could to get himself ready for these summer workouts that he’s going through right now in Bloomington. It’s a badge of honor for him. He’s excited about it. He’s very honored to put on an Indiana uniform.”

Filed to:

  • ForeverIU

    Are you saying we can’t criticize ANY recruit because they might one day be great? What if we criticize now and then eat our words later? Would that make you happy?

  • Darrell Allen

    What a shitty comment! You must be proud!

  • HardRockHoosier

    It’s really unfair and inaccurate to tag him as ‘bottom of the barrel’.. You should be ashamed. He was selected as an Indiana All-Star to play on the All-Star game.. He’s not a 5 star, but he certainly can’t be labeled as ‘bottom of the barrel’. That was a ‘bottom of the barrel’ comment.

  • HardRockHoosier

    FIU, that is stupid, unfounded and a racist comment.. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • TomJameson

    Jumping in a little late, but to reinforce what Ole Man just said, Crean has often said that he has great relationships with HS coaches, and ADs in Indiana and all over the country. I would guess the “all over the country” part is in the recruiting areas they focus on.

  • TomJameson

    “token Indiana white kid” … That’s kind of a racist comment no matter how you frame it.

    Just don’t think CTC recruits that way.

  • ForeverIU

    How is it racist? Why are you so uptight? You honestly don’t think it’s part of the Indiana “brand”? You could disagree without calling me a racist.

  • ForeverIU

    Lol. How is it racist? Some of you guys are so uptight. I’m not demeaning anyone.

  • Ole Man

    Totally agree. Think CTC has the program definitely trending both in recruiting and on the court in a very positive direction!

  • I am Baby Cakes

    He made the team because of his commitment to Indiana.

  • pcantidote

    You can do whatever you want. I just don’t get a lot of joy out of doubting and criticizing 18 year olds, and there is enough evidence out there to suggest that the ratings are not the be all end all.

  • ForeverIU

    I agree with you, but I’m just wondering if any critique of an incoming recruit is okay.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    so who mandates recruiting a token white indiana kid? CTC? glass? the president of iu? do you think they sat down in a meeting room and discussed how they were going to address this ‘marketing requirement’? how would that conversation go down? would love to hear your opinion FIU, i need a good laugh this morning

  • pcantidote

    Wonder away.

  • ForeverIU

    Great question, and the logical one to ask! None of this gets explicitly discussed, at least not in the way you suggested. But I have no doubt that somewhere somehow the fact that Hoosier Nation likes to see a few home grown white kids on its team gets addressed. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Do you honestly think this doesn’t figure into the thinking? Of course, the arguments get couched in language that doesn’t explicitly mention race, but rather in the language of multiculturalism, power, privilege, diversity, etc. This is a prevalent discourse on college campuses nowadays. Aren’t you aware of it? Forgive me if I sounded crude in my phrasing. LOL.

  • Arch Puddington

    “Do you honestly think this doesn’t figure into the thinking.”

    Yes, I honest think that. I think that what figures into Tom Crean’s thinking is “how can I put a team on the floor that contends for championships”. You seem to have forgotten that he was on his way to losing his job early last season, following an extended stretch of failures both on and off the court. If you think that with the program falling apart and his job squarely on the line he deliberately recruited a sub-optimal player for PC reasons, then you have been undone by “the prevalent discourse on college campuses”. Your charges don’t sound crude, they sound like those of an ideologue who can only see the world through a single lens.

  • ForeverIU

    Your argument assumes that Grant is not or will not turn into a quality player. I did say that he has the needed talent to turn into a solid and consistent contributor. But I also said that his profile fits a certain “brand”, and that it will be to his advantage. It is not only individual talent that wins games and championships. If you don’t see the nuance in my argument, then you are the “ideologue”, not me.

  • Koko

    That comment is so far out in left field it is laughable.
    Yes I’m sure when the committee to pick the Indiana All Stars gets together the first thing out of their mouths is….Who committed to Indiana, Purdue, Butler, Notre Dame and IUPUI.
    And I’m sure a HS kid from Bennetts Switch who committed to Wabash College will be high on their list as well.
    Come on man, if you’re going to make yourself right at least use a bit of common sense.

  • Koko

    I see the nuance in your argument but don’t agree with your wording to make it. But of course I understand your penchant to stir the pot and create an effect for the sake of conversation.

  • ForeverIU

    Sorry if my wording offended you.

  • Koko

    It didn’t offend me at all….like I said, I understand your penchant to stir the pot and create an effect for the sake of conversation. As you well know the wording of a comment can create all kinds of reactions. I do understand your nuance and idea of a token player from Indiana but to me a black kid could fit that bill as well. If you would have left out the word white I would have agreed with your wording.

  • ForeverIU

    Listen Koko, I’m not saying what I like to see. But I respect the fact that Indiana might want to see a local Indiana white kid on its basketball team. I’m not saying this is how it should be. And I’m even open to arguments that it’s not something the fan base cares about, but it’s my feeling that the fan base does care. Remember, my comment was in the context of a conversation in which people are trying to understand the choice of Grant, and I’m just saying that I think the considerations I mentioned are a part of the decision. That’s just my sense, and if I’m wrong so be it. I don’t see why people are calling me a racist.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    are hoosier fans anxiously awaiting the next bird and bailey? probably a legitimate argument could be made. does the recruitment of GG appease the white community within hoosier nation? who knows. i can only speak for myself and say i couldn’t care less. i want the best homegrown players regardless of ethnicity. did CTC recruit him for any other reason than his perceived value on the floor? call me naive, but i just don’t think so.

  • ForeverIU

    Fair enough.

  • Koko

    I don’t think you or your comment was racist. Remember last season when someone said TW didn’t have a good basketball IQ? Then someone else came out screaming racist? It’s a touchy subject and you should be ready if you even touch on the outer perimeter of that subject no matter your true feelings. Once again I understand the gist of your comment. I just think “token Indiana player” would have been better that using white kid….that’s all. And hey when you say “token white kid” I understand….I’ve lived through worse things than that in reference to white/black players. The times they are a changin…..even in Indiana.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i don’t think it’s racist at all, and it drives me nuts when people are seemingly so anxious to slap that label on someone. i just don’t think there needs to be an ulterior motive for recruiting a local, lower ranked, lights out shooter who can fill an important role.

  • John D Murphy

    I’ll reserve judgement. Player development under CTC for guards and wings has been very good for the guys who have committed to work and improve. If he develops his body and turns into a version of NZ, great get. If he plays tough in practice helping our starters to learn to close against shooters with height while staying out of trouble…good enough. I’ve been a vocal critic of CTC over time about many things but this doesn’t ruffle my feathers in the least. As an aside, strange thread.

  • Bill Graham

    BL. Normally you and I tend to agree on things. But recently, Indiana has had elite talent. Heck we could have had a (2018) starting 5 of Wilkes, Scruggs, Brunk, Guy, and Gunn. Thats all Indiana kids and as good of a lineup as any in the country (in 2 years).

  • BL4IU

    Yes we do but not this time. Like Wilkes, Scruggs and Guy but they wouldn’t be elite with Brunk and Gunn. Take the first three and find two really good bigs and you have elite, IMHO.

  • Bill Graham

    Fair enough. Good points and support. But you have to admit. IF (and thats a big if) we signed and retained the top 3 Indiana kids every year we could reach elite status…this would never happen but just saying the talent is there but not in bulk

  • BL4IU


  • HardRockHoosier

    Right.. You are the first analyst that has made that comment. It wasn’t that he averaged over 17 pts a game and had some very good games tis year. But you would know, you’re on top of it.

  • SilentBob

    Commenting and piling on are two different things. We don’t hold all too different of views, me and you. And it’s not you I’m targeting in specific, although there are some things you’ve said I would rephrase lol. That’s just my opinion and you have yours. But my target isn’t even as narrow as the ITH community as a whole, but really the whole fan base is just piling on this kid. Even journalists are doing it.

    I’m not saying people have to say every recruit is great in the slightest. I didn’t hype him up at all in my comment. But I think most people are aware of his long shot status at this point, but are aware he is part of the IU family now regardless.

  • SilentBob

    You think so? I think the Thriller would at least own him in a three point contest.

  • I am Baby Cakes

    I’d hope Gelon could beat him. It’s the only reason he’s around.

  • JetpackJunky

    Usually only has to convince one or two players to leave every year to maintain it too!

    But hey, they already helped get that top 25 recruiting class ranking, so who cares?

  • jimmygoiu

    GG averaged 14.5 ppg and shot only 38.5% from 3. i saw him score 2 free throws against Warren Central and shut out against the jr all stars. Baby Cakes is right, as GG only made the all stars due to his IU commitment. There are 40 (no exagerration) kids in Indiana in that class that are as good are better than GG. Sorry