Grant Basile, Wright State’s 6-foot-9 back-up center, found himself unguarded at the 3-point line against Urbana last week and didn’t hesitate to let it fly.
The ball hit the rim — once, twice and then a third time — and hung on the iron briefly before toppling in.
Coach Scott Nagy encourages all his players to take open 3’s, as long as the shots are in the flow of the offense, and the redshirt freshman displayed a deft touch for someone who normally operates inside.
»ARCHDEACON: WSU newcomer might never play again
“I definitely have the ability to shoot it, but I got a nice bounce on that one,” he said with a smile.
Everything was going Basile’s way against the Division-II foe. He tallied 19 points, six rebounds and two blocks in 17 minutes during the 88-51 victory, none of which was a surprise to Nagy.
“He’s very skilled. He’s a good ball-handler, good passer and good shooter,” the coach said.
On Basile being a 3-point threat, Nagy added: “That’s part of his game that will develop as he comes along. He hasn’t taken that many in practice. But he shoots a very good percentage.”
The Wisconsin native is a shade taller than the team’s All-Horizon League center, Loudon Love. And he’s got finesse to his game along with a long wingspan, allowing him maneuver around opposing frontcourts.
“He’s another guy for us with long arms and a big body,” point guard Cole Gentry said. “As you saw (against Urbana), his touch around the rim is really good. We’ve seen it for a year and a half now. He’s a really good finisher around the rim.”
The 225-pound Basile had four points and three rebounds in 18 minutes over three games as a freshman in 2018-19 before needing season-ending ankle surgery.
He actually first suffered the injury in his next-to-last game in high school. After undergoing a peroneal tendon subluxation on Dec. 15, he was in a hard cast, transitioned to a protective boot and then had to navigate around campus on crutches before finally being cleared in June.
He’s developed more rapidly then many expected. The Raiders don’t have to fret about Love getting in foul trouble because Basile is more than capable of handling major minutes.
He’s considered a cerebral player, which comes from having grown up in a basketball family. He was coached by his father, Mike, at Pewaukee High School, while his grandfather also was a high school and college coach.
“I really enjoy it,” he said of his hoops background. “It’s something we can all bond over.”
Nagy said Basile’s emergence has helped Love’s growth, giving the fourth-year junior perhaps his first real competition in practice.
But Basile believes their battles are mutually beneficial.
“It’s great experience playing against one of the best ‘bigs’ at the mid-major level,” Basile said. “He’s really talented, and that helps me on both ends — banging with him, boxing him out, trying to rebound and, offensively, playing against someone that big.”
Nagy said he’d like to see Basile polish his post moves and attack more aggressively. But fans probably can expect more double-figure outings.
Asked about his role, Basile said: “I just want to win basketball games. And I hope I can give us some good minutes in big spots.”
The Basile clan will be reunited when the Raiders play in the Gulf Coast Showcase, an eight-team mid-major tourney that runs Monday through Wednesday in Estero, Fla.
And while he’s eager to catch up with his family, Basile has one goal in mind — just like his Raider teammates.
“We obviously want to go down and win this thing,” he said. “There are good teams in it, but we feel we have a really good shot.”
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