Notre Dame Basketball: Jerian Grant Deserves to Be ACC POY Candidate

By Gregory Philson

Notre Dame needed some big plays in a pull-away victory over Bryant Monday.

Luckily for the Irish, senior guard Jerian Grant was there to provide the plays on both ends and made it known he can be a finisher this season in the ACC. Notre Dame, which led by as much as 13 points in the second half, let Bryant back in the game late. The Irish were leading by four, and with the Bulldogs looking primed to close the gap, Grant splashed a three-pointer from the corner and made a block on Dyami Starks at the other end to trump the Bulldogs’ upset bid.

This is just a microcosm of what Grant provides for the Irish. Grant is scoring nearly 20 points per game, is handing out more than six assists and is grabbing almost three rebounds as a guard. Grant shined late in games last season and with another year of experience, he is showing other ACC teams they do not want to be in close games with Notre Dame.

Grant is posting some seriously outstanding numbers this season and has scored at least 20 points five times this season. Even more impressive is how efficient he is. Grant is shooting 55 percent from the field, 44 percent from 3 and is only turning the ball over 1.6 times per game. Grant is also taking his skills to the defensive end. He is averaging 2.3 steals and has shown he is a solid man-to-man defender.

The Irish have had problems after falling out of the top 25 following a loss to Indiana State earlier this season. Notre Dame also fell to Iowa in a high-scoring affair, but it was not Grant’s fault. The team’s leading scorer posted 13 points, dished out 10 assists and grabbed four rebounds. This kind of all-around game is what makes him stick out in the ACC.

Duke‘s Jabari Parker was basically handed  the conference Player of the Year award before the season started, but his numbers overall do not differ much from Grant’s. What helps Grant even more is the likelihood Notre Dame will have more close games where his late-game heroics will get all the highlights.

Voters have shown tendencies to have a “what have you done for me lately” mentality, and if Grant can continue to be a force late in one-possession games, he could break through and steal the POY from Parker.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC college basketball writer at Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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