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BOYS BASKETBALL

Self-aware Kenneth Grant, Hammond Central eye big improvement this winter

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Kenneth Grant, Hammond Central

Senior guard Kenneth Grant and Hammond Central plan to be more consistent this season. Grant scored 13.1 points per game as a junior.

HAMMOND — Kenneth Grant isn’t trying to be something he’s not. He’s done with that.

In the past, the Hammond Central senior guard watched the NBA and tried to mimic the game of his favorite players. Grant isn’t Steph Curry, though, and he's finally accepting that.

“I found myself. I found who I was instead of trying to be somebody else. I was so focused on being somebody different,” Grant said. “I realized I’m totally different than a lot of these guys. I can work harder than these guys. I need to focus on that.”

That thought came about after Grant began studying psychology. He’d like to major in the subject in college. He put the work into the classroom to get to his GPA to the point that coaches recruiting him can offer him a scholarship to facilitate that.

Grant’s game will help, too. He may not wear a No. 30 Golden State jersey but he can shoot the ball. He hit 46 3-pointers as a junior. The problem was that he didn’t do enough inside the arc.

“He didn’t shoot a lot of free throws last year because he stayed around the 3-point line. He’s going to have to mix it up a lot more, maybe pull up or get to the basket and not just stand at the 3-point line,” coach Larry Moore, Jr. said. “If I see him hanging around there, he’s going to sit down.”

Grant was inconsistent last season. He averaged 13.1 points per game but tended to be hot or cold. He scored 15 points or more 10 times and five or fewer 13 times. He actually shot a higher percentage from beyond the 3-point line (39%) than he did overall (38%).

Moore said there were times when if Grant’s shot wasn’t falling, he’d let it affect the rest of his game.

“Over the summer, I tried to lock in mentally,” Grant said. “I ain’t going to always be able to shoot the ball. I can get to the hole, penetrate and open it up for others. I can be an all-around basketball player.”

The offseason was good for the Wolves as a group, too. They were 4-0 at the Charlie Hughes Shootout over the summer at Hamilton Southeastern. Preseason workouts, by all accounts, went well.

Nine varsity players were on the football roster but expect to quickly get into basketball shape.

“Coach Moore, he put us through some tough love,” Grant said. “We were just running and running like it would never end.”

Hammond Central returns almost all of its biggest contributors. What was a young team is now a very inexperienced one. Moore said that changes the way he approached practice, even over the summer.

“Some of the things that I tolerated in terms of being inconsistent or not playing as hard, playing the way we like to play, won’t be tolerated this year,” Moore said. “They were thrown into the fire last year and were learning on the fly. A 16-8 season is bad for us. A lot of schools, that’s acceptable but that’s bad for us.”

The Wolves added length to the lineup in the form of 6-foot-6 Danny Garza, who sat out last season after transferring from Bishop Noll midseason.

Postseason trophies are the aim.

“We’re working on being a team, together as one,” Grant said. “This year’s going to be different.”

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