A familiar face returned to the court for the Orange in last night’s 89-74 victory over Fordham. In his first game back with the team after a brief NCAA-sanctioned suspension, sophomore forward Jerami Grant posted an impressive double-double with ten rebounds and 16 points.
Grant subbed in for junior forward Rakeem Christmas during the first few minutes of the game. Within 40 seconds, Grant grabbed an offensive rebound for the Orange and put it up for his first two points on the season. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim spoke highly of the Hyattsville, MD native’s outstanding rebounding abilities.
“He’s such a good offensive rebounder. I think his first couple of buckets were off the offensive boards,” Boeheim said.
The hall of famer also explained how the more stringent ACC referee practices help Grant to better play his game in the paint.
“The way they’re calling the game, if you get to the basket with the ball there’s a 90 percent chance there’s going to be a foul called. So that’s what he does with the new rules. They really help him in the fact that he’s going to go to the basket with the ball,” the coach elaborated.
By the end of the first half, Grant had scored 11 points, posted 3 rebounds and marked two out of the three steals he would have for the evening. His seven rebounds during the remainder of the game were important as the Orange’s defense got sloppy in the second half, allowing Fordham to rally to within 12 points after SU had led by 25 at half.
When asked about Grant’s inaugural performance of the season, fellow teammate and senior forward CJ Fair had nothing but praise for the underclassman.
“Jerami did a great job of being active and getting to the right spots. He came in and within a minute and 30 seconds he had rebounds—that’s what we need out there,” Fair said.
Still, Grant sees one specific area he can improve.
“Definitely my free throw shooting,” Grant said. “I didn’t shoot that well tonight. I missed a couple jump shots, so I definitely want to improve on that.”
Regardless, Grant recognized the integral role his presence in the post plays for the team.
“We have people who like to shoot a lot of jump shots,” Grant said. “So I definitely have to crash the boards because all of them aren’t going to go in.“