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Coming out of high school Quentin Grimes was a consensus five-star recruit, a 2018 McDonald’s All-American, and the No. 8 player in ESPN’s recruiting rankings. He had been courted by schools such as Kentucky, but ultimately chose Kansas. Before he played one minute for the Jayhawks, Bleacher Report had tabbed him as the projected seventh overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
“You have a lot of expectations for yourself,” Grimes said. “As well as the media, and just fans in general have expectations for you.”
That’s a lot of pressure for an 18-year-old.
Especially going to a major program like Kansas, where they eat, drink, and sleep Jayhawks basketball.
“It was really good, my time at Kansas,” Grimes said. “Coach (Bill) Self, great coach, Hall of Fame coach. Great environment at Kansas, sold out every game no matter who we played.”
He turned 19-years-old Wednesday, and worked out for the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday morning. He did not even get a chance to stay up late on his birthday, or to watch his hometown Houston Rockets play Game 5 against the Golden State Warriors.
He was focused on getting sleep for his workout.
“I wasn’t trying to stay up too late,” he said. “I only caught like the first four minutes.”
Going to bed early seemed to have paid off.
The 6-foot-5 shooting guard was confident he did well in the 1-on-1 and 3-on-3 drills. This was not his first workout either — as Grimes said he has already worked out for the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. He also traveled to Boston after Atlanta to work out for the Celtics, and will work out for several other teams after next week’s draft combine.
For a lot of one-and-done players like Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, and Grimes’ good-friend Romeo Langford, once they enter their name into the draft, that’s it. They are 100 percent leaving college, because they are certain they will be picked in the first round. However, Grimes’ situation is unique. During his lone season with the Jayhawks, he averaged just 8.4 points and 2.0 assists per game. Unlike his McDonald’s All-American peers, he does not appear to be a lock to be drafted in the first-round.
Or even the second round.
According to NBADraft.net, Grimes is the 72nd best prospect. A huge turnaround from August, when he was considered as a potential top-10 pick.
“Maybe once I go to the combine, and I think I have a couple workouts after that, then I’ll probably make my decision (whether to stay in the draft),” he said.
Grimes has signed an agent — now allowed by the new NCAA, provided the player cuts ties with the agent by May 29, should the player decide to return to school. For now, Grimes is going to weigh the feedback received after workouts. So far, that feedback has been positive.
Grimes’ father played at Santa Clara and has always offered advice on basketball, while his mom has been there to keep him on track off the court. Grimes said his parents play a big role in his life and are people he sees as mentors, so it should be assumed they will be vital in the decision making process.
“Those two have been a real big inspiration for me in my basketball career,” he said.
Grimes will go to the two-day combine, held in Chicago, and then finish his final workouts with teams, before he makes his decision on what’s next.