Boston College head basketball coach Earl Grant will be joining WBZ and CBSN throughout the NCAA Tournament as a guest analyst. Here he previews Saturday's early games on WBZ.
- I have to ask you, just talking on BC, how has it been? How is the recruiting been? How's settling in been? How has coming to the city been? Especially during these times, it's a little bit different. How has it been just to get yourself in line and ready to go?
EARL GRANT: It's been unbelievable. You know, I really enjoy the people on campus. Obviously, getting to know our players that are here at BC now. There's some talented guys in the locker room, some young guys that have a promising future. So it's been nice to be around them, and work with them, and sweat with them. I've enjoyed that. And this all the other coaches and all the administration.
There's so many good people just willing to help with the transition, so that's been amazing. As it pertains to, you know, leaving where I was, you know, that was a challenge. I wasn't looking to leave. We were at a great place. You know, we had developed a lot of great memories, and, and the players there were, you know, really guys that I enjoyed coaching.
So, but, you know the way the AD and the president here Pat Craft and Father Leahy, the way the approach was in the process, you know, it was something that I was very appealed to, based on the way they talked about their values and what was important to them.
- I have to ask you one more question before we get to the Celina games. Are you better in person or in Zoom, because I think people had to learn skills about trying to make sure your point gets across through Zoom.
EARL GRANT: Man, I'm a better person. I'd rather-- speak to people, talk to the people, point at to people, you know, be around the people. I'm much, much better, even with the press conference, you know, doing it on Zoom, and not having a lot of people in the crowd, and fans that you can point to and talk to to kind of reiterate some of the points you were making. It's a little different.
- You mentioned the fans. Let's go Loyola of Chicago's taking on the Oregon Ducks. Sister Jean versus the Ducks. I have to ask you, how important is it to find a fan where you can say that person, whether it be Ashley Judd with Kentucky, or Sister G Williams Chicago. How important is it to have a fan or just a group of people that signify with your squad?
EARL GRANT: I mean, I think that's, that's critical. Obviously, Sister Jean, she's, she's magical. She's been around the last five-- she's been around the last five years and, you know, she's, she's, she's known around the world now. She's famous. And so, you know, just being a person that's a champion for that team, and praying for that team, and giving those guys some comfort when they go out on the floor, some peace when they go out on the floor, I think it's a very a unique situation, a unique story.
But, but I think it's so important to have people backing you, whether it be for an individual person, or even just fans or students, just a group of people that kind of make you feel like there's somebody watching you. There's somebody that cares.
- You've done it with the College of Charleston, and now you get a chance to see a team like Loyola of Chicago, maybe a small school, and they've been to the Final Four. And now you go to a program, which here in BC, where they haven't seen a lot of success. How much does a team like Loyola of Chicago say, OK, we can be just like them or better?
EARL GRANT: Yeah. I mean, I think the most important thing is for BC, man-- there was 20 years of greatness. There have been years of greatness, you know. If you look at the history, and, you know, coming from O'Brien, and even, even Gary Williams had a success here. But looking at O'Brien and looking at our Skinner, there was 20 years of greatness. So that's inspiring. That's part of the reason I was excited about coming, because the DNA of the program, the blood, the vessels that's inside this program, they're still alive.
You know, they just haven't thrived here recently. I think the previous two coaches who preceded me both did some good things. They did some good things. They had some success at times, and now I'm hoping, because of all of those coaches in the foundation they've left me with, that we can push off and try to continue to move this program in the right direction.
- Did you like Loyola, or did you like Oregon?
EARL GRANT: You know, if you had asked me a week and a half ago, I'd have said Oregon. You know, Dana Altman with all the changing defenses, you know, man to man match-up zone, full court press. He keeps you off balance, but right now I just think Loyola. They got some magic going on with their program now, so I got to give Loyola the nod.
- For the next game, Vilanova is taking on Baylor. I feel like Baylor is like, hey, we were the number two team in the country for, literally, the whole season, and nobody's talking about us. Why is that?
EARL GRANT: Well, I mean, you never want to count out Jay Wright. But Baylor is, Baylor is playing good basketball. You know, you got a bunch of guys in there believing in each other, and a lot of transfers from major schools are there playing. And they're making a lot of threes. They're really defending people well. And so right now, I've got to go with Baylor.
EARL GRANT: As much as I don't want to bet against Jay Wright, I've got to go to Baylor in this one. They're playing really good basketball.
- But Jay Wright always seems to recruit local, and I think that's so important.
EARL GRANT: Yeah.
- How important is it for you to watch that and say, make sure we keep the good players who are local here in Massachusetts, or the area-- the New England area-- and make sure they stay here, maybe even come to your program?
EARL GRANT: Yeah. I think, more importantly, you talk about New England, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, you know, all these areas-- I mean, you're three hours away from New York and New Jersey. But I really think it's important to keep some of these kids home. Historically, there hasn't been a lot of kids who stayed home.
You know, there's been some of the best teams that Boston College have been able to put on the floor. They may have had one or two guys from New England. And they went out in different places to recruit, whether it be California, or Texas, or North Carolina. You know, they went in a little bit of everywhere. And so the DMV, you know, D.C.
You know, so I mean, they went everywhere, but I really think we got to utilize these prep schools up here in the knapsack. You know, we've got to try to make sure these kids at home understand they we would love to keep them there. I think that's as- it's important, and hopefully, some of these guys would be fired about, fired up about what we're trying to do.