By Stefan Djordjevic/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Neptunas Klaipeda has had a strong start of the 2018-19 season in both Lithuanian and Basketball Champions League. They hold the first place in the domestic league after beating none other than reigning champion Zalgiris while they’ve bounced to a 1-1 record in BCL Group D.
One of the key factors for it was the 29-year-old power forward Jerai Grant. Grant has been an unstoppable force in the paint, completely controlling the space on both ends of the floor. He opened the BCL season with a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds while he also scored game-high 17 points versus Zalgiris in LKL.
But none of that comes as a surprise. Why? Because he is a Grant. And as such, basketball simply runs through his veins.
Grants – The Basketball Family
Jerai is actually the older brother of the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s Jerami and the Orlando Magic‘s Jerian Grant. Along with the youngest brother Jaelin, they are the sons of former NBA player Harvey Grant as well as nephews of the four-time NBA champion Horace Grant.
Harvey spent 11 years in the NBA playing for multiple teams (Washington, Portland, Philadelphia) while his identical twin Horace played for 16 years and won three titles with Chicago (1991-1993) and one with the LA Lakers (2001).
Following his predecessors’ footsteps
Both Harvey and Horace Grant started their college career at Clemson University, and Jerai went down the same road. He played 127 games in the NCAA Division I and averaged 12.5 points and 6.7 rebounds in his senior year while also earning a place in the ACC All-Defensive team.
The bumpy road – seven clubs, seven years
After not getting picked in the 2011 NBA Draft, Jerai Grant searched for a start across the oceans and he found it in Australia with the Sidney Kings. He averaged 11.9 points and 8.1 rebounds in his first professional season and was named the player of the week multiple times.
In 2012, he tried to prove himself in the NBA Summer League with the Rockets but ended up joining Enel Brindisi in Italy for a season.
After a short stop in Israel with Hapoel Holon, it was finally time for his first title. He averaged 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game leading Ventspils to the 2013-14 Latvian League trophy. He stayed one more season with the club and that was when he made his EuroCup debut with 12 points against Buducnost.
The next destination was Neptunas and Grant helped them make it to the Lithuanian League Finals for the second time in club’s history. It was with Neptunas that he also made his BCL debut.
Although he had successful runs with Ventspils and Neptunas, Grant split the next season with Orasi Ravenna in the Italian second division and with Trotamundos in Venezuelan League.
But then he made it back to Neptunas once again and we can’t wait to see how far they will go this time around…
Photo Credit: Basketball Champions League