In August, Grant Slatten made a verbal commitment to join Ole Miss in SEC play after he graduates, and, on Nov. 11, he made that official when he signed his letter of intent.
Slatten has played basketball his entire life, starting in the Sparta Youth leagues and working his way through school ball and travel ball. He said all of the hours in a gym, all of the workouts and sore muscles, the time traveling to get to practices and games, the missed social opportunities, have been worth it.
“Grant’s a special person,” White County Warrior head coach Eric Mitchell said. “He’s one of those guys, if he thinks he can do something, he’s going to do it.”
Before he made his intent official, Slatten took a moment to thank those who were there to share in what is arguably the biggest moment of his career at this point.
“I’d like to thank God for this opportunity,” he said. “My family for supporting me and pushing me. My high school coaches for always believing in me. My AAU coaches for pushing me and guiding me to the next level, and I would like to thank the Ole Miss coaching staff for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream.”
Mitchell said Slatten is the first player on a team that he has coached to receive such a prestigious offer.
“He’s my first major college signee, and we are all excited for him,” Mitchell said.
The road to Ole Miss hasn’t been one that was without difficulties and sacrifices for Slatten, who, according to Mitchell, has put more hours in at the gym than anyone he knows.
“There were a lot of sacrifices, a lot of distractions, but I had to push through, and now I am seeing it pay off,” Slatten said.
COVID-19 has made recruiting, official school visits, and even playing difficult the past year. When Slatten announced his commitment, in August 2020, Slatten talked about how the process had been different and also how he already feels like he is part of the Ole Miss family.
“We had a few Zoom meetings, and the coaches were calling me daily and just really built that relationship,” he explained. “I think I will walk in and feel at home. There will definitely be adjustments - it’s a different level of athleticism and players. The game is really elevated at the collegiate level, but I think my style of play will fit in with their program.”
“Plus, it’s in the SEC, which I really like,” Slatten added as another reason he chose Ole Miss as the place he will continue his basketball career. “I really want to play at that level and test my ability and grow my game.”
While he will be crossing state lines and playing for what could be considered a rival team by many of his friends and neighbors, Slatten isn’t going to forget his roots or those hours in Roy Sewell Gymnasium.
“Thank you, Sparta!” he said. You have always supported me. The support and loudness you bring to our gym helps us win games. It motivates us to be better, to keep pushing. So, yeah, thank You, Sparta.”