Wichita State needed one more big man. Anton Grady needed a place with top-level guards who could help him get to the NCAA Tournament.
Grady, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward, signed a financial aid agreement with Wichita State on Friday. He is transferring from Cleveland State, after graduating with a degree in film, and will to use his one season of eligibility in 2015-16. The NCAA’s graduate transfer rule allows athletes who complete their undergraduate degree to transfer with immediate eligibility.
Grady, from Cleveland, visited WSU last week and liked the coaching staff and the facilities. He knew all about WSU’s “Play Angry” slogan. The prospect of playing with guards Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker is appealing. Most of all, he sees WSU as a place that get him into the NCAA Tournament.
“Their mindset is not just getting into the tournament,” Grady said. “Their mindset is getting to the Final Four. I like their winning ways and how hard they worked.”
Grady was All-Horizon League last season, averaging 14.3 points and 7.9 rebounds for the Vikings. He was also named to the Horizon League’s All-Defensive team. He made 48.8 percent of his shots and 64.5 percent of his free throws.
“Anton certainly fills a need within our program with the departure of Darius Carter,” WSU coach Gregg Marshall said in a statement. “He can score the ball inside and out, is a relentless rebounder, and is also a very good defensive player. We feel like his maturity along our front line will be very beneficial.”
He profiles as a player who can play center and and on the wing. After meeting VanVleet and Baker, he envisions a season filled with pick-and-roll baskets and good shots created by their passing and shooting skills. WSU’s top priority with its remaining scholarship was to add experienced big man. Grady joins a rotation with returning starter Evan Wessel at forward, senior center Bush Wamukota and sophomore forwards Shaq Morris, Rashard Kelly and Rauno Nurger.
“I could see myself fitting in right away,” Grady said. “(Coaches) showed me what they wanted me to do on the court, which is really something I was looking for and enjoyed looking at. I like playing with real good point guards. That makes my job a lot more easier.”
Grady said he chose WSU over Iowa State and Xavier.
Grady averaged 8.5 points and 6.4 rebounds as a freshman, then improved to 13.5 points early in 2012-13 before suffering a season-ending knee injury six games into the season.
After a medical redshirt, he averaged 10.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in 2013-14.