Wright State forward Grant Basile liked being a starter while Loudon Love was sidelined earlier this season — really liked it — but he knew his stint with the first string would be short-lived, and he was prepared for a reduced role when Love returned.
The 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman is averaging 6.2 points and 4.3 rebounds, but he showed his potential in the five games he started between late November and mid-December, averaging 13.8 points and 10 boards.
He’s still making the most of his time on court, even though it’s been scaled back. He had four points and five rebounds in seven minutes in the regular-season finale at Northern Kentucky, helping the Raiders clinch the outright Horizon League title.
He’s had three double-doubles, including a 12-point, 10-rebound effort as a sub.
“He’s a lot better offensively than he’s had an opportunity to show,” coach Scott Nagy said. “The other night, he played seven minutes — that’s all he got — but he was super effective in those seven minutes.
“What he needs is more time — because then he gains the confidence he’s capable of playing with, and he’s really good. I’m anxious to see him next year because I think he’s going to explode.”
Basile has averaged 11.4 minutes since Love returned from a fractured elbow, but his impact this season didn’t go unnoticed. He was named to the league’s all-freshman team along with wing Tanner Holden, giving the Raiders two of the five freshmen honorees and four in the last three seasons.
“Obviously, it was an adjustment,” Basile said of his fluctuating playing time, “but we all have different roles throughout the season. The thing about our team is everybody is comfortable playing whatever role we need for us to win the game.”
The Pewaukee, Wis., native comes from a basketball family, which helped him get through his redshirt year as he recovered from ankle surgery and handle the ups and downs this season.
His grandfather, Michael Basile, was the coach at Milwaukee Area Technical College, and he played for his dad, Michael Basile Jr., in high school.
He scored 49 points in a game as a senior, and he led the team to back-to-back conference titles his last two seasons.
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“Growing up around the game of basketball — and we have other guys on the team whose dads were their coaches as well — you just notice things a lot more. My dad is always helping me out, letting me know when I make mistakes and what I need to do,” he said.
Holden starred at Wheelersburg High School while his father, Rodney, was an assistant there. Tim Finke, who is sitting out this season as a transfer, became ESPN.com’s No. 2 recruit in Illinois while playing for his dad, Jeff, at Champaign Central. And T.J. Nagy, a freshman walk-on from Bellbrook, is the son of the Raiders’ coach.
“I have a really good support system,” Basile said. “There are people in my corner all the time, telling me to stay with it, do what I need to do and be a good teammate.”
As much as he tries, Nagy can’t get Basile more action because it’s too hard to take the 6-8 Love — the league player of the year — off the floor. And pairing the two together isn’t ideal because conference teams tend to play small ball.
But instead of adjusting to opponents’ lineups, Nagy may opt to make foes adapt to the Raiders next season.
“We hope to play Grant and Loudon at the same time a lot more next year,” he said. “There will probably be some things we have to do defensively — maybe play more zone, which would be hard for me. But I think it’d be a good zone because we’d be big, and we’d be hard to score on.”
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