Wright State basketball: Basile reminds Nagy of one of NCAA’s greatest scorers

FAIRBORN — Wright State coach Scott Nagy figured a player like Mike Daum only comes along once in a coaching career — or at least that’s what he thought before Grant Basile showed up on the Raiders’ recruiting radar.

Daum averaged 15.2 points as a freshman in Nagy’s last season at South Dakota State and then scored 25.1, 23.9 and 25.3 per game his last three years.

He has the seventh-most points in NCAA history with 3,067 — just ahead of Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird and Elvin Hayes. The all-time leader is Pete Maravich with 3,667 (in three seasons).

No one expects that kind of production from the 6-foot-9 Basile, of course, but he has many of the same traits that made Daum a prolific scorer.

“When we recruited Grant, we saw a lot of Mike in Grant,” Nagy said. “Mike was 6-9, had great hands. He struggled his first year, and we redshirted him. Grant’s was a different struggle with an ankle injury (resulting in a medical-redshirt year). But we see a lot of the same things: very talented offensively, and Grant is probably a little better defensively.”

Basile is still working on his first 1,000 points, but his multi-faceted game is giving opponents fits.

The third-year sophomore is averaging 14.4 points and 7.1 rebounds and has shown an ability to step out for 3′s, making 12 of 26 for a team-best 46.2% clip.

He’s flourished since moving into the starting lineup the last seven games, averaging 17.4 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 61.6% from the field and 80.7 from the foul line.

“He’s always in the gym shooting. That’s the thing that’s really improved, obviously,” Nagy said of Basile’s range, having gone only 3 of 21 on 3′s last season. “He’s become very, very difficult to guard for sure.”

Basile tore a tendon in his ankle in his second-to-last game as a high school senior in Pewaukee, Wis. He played his final game anyway, which should earn him points on the toughness scale.

“That was not great. I was taped up pretty heavily,” he said.

He tried to play on it with the Raiders, but three games into his freshman year and with the pain still lingering, he was forced to undergo surgery.

The year off, though, turned out to be a boon for his career.

“That season was good to look at the speed of the game and just kind of observe everything that was going on,” he said. “Looking back then, we had Parker Ernsthausen as a fifth-year senior. He did a great job helping me out. (Seniors) Adam Giles and Mark Hughes did, too.

“We just had leader after leader to bring this program up and elevate us to take it to the next level.”

Basile is doing that now while playing beside 6-8, 255-pound senior Loudon Love, the Horizon League Player of the Year.

Basile set a career high of 29 points against Robert Morris on Friday, which was more than Love had ever amassed — until Love poured in 34 the next night.

The two are frequent practice foes, and iron is sharpening iron.

“It’s probably helped (Basile) more defensively than offensively,” Nagy said. “No one likes to guard Loudon. It’s a brutal thing to have to deal with him every day. He’s just so physical. He’s hard to move. It’s tough.

“He doesn’t do it well (against Love) every day — nobody really does — but Grant can score on just about anybody. He’s a hard guard for Loudon because he can step out and shoot 3′s and puts it on the floor pretty well.”

The emergence of Basile has taken pressure off Love, who is averaging 15.3 points (down only slightly from last year’s 15.9 mark) while shooting 55.7% from the field. He hit 48.8, 49.8 and 53.3 his previous three seasons.

And while the two post players had big nights last weekend, the Raiders are achieving on offense what teams desire most: balance.

They’ve put six players in double figures in a game three times, and all five starters are averaging between 16.8 and 9.8 points.

“Having those guys around me really helps,” Basile said. “It’s hard to key on any one guy on our team.”


Wright State at UIC, 8 p.m., ESPN+, 106.5

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