White County High School’s Grant Slatten has been selected as one of the three statewide basketball players that have made it to the finals of the prestigious award of being named Mr. Basketball for the year 2021.
This is the 37th year that the Mr. and Miss Basketball awards have been awarded. The award will be held on Saturday night following the AAA championship game. The three finalists are Mason Miller from Houston High School, Matthew Schneider of Siegel High School, and Grant Slatten from White County High School. A statewide committee of sportswriters selects the finalist based upon performance during the season. Head coaches and members of the media nominated the finalists. Mason Miller from Houston averaged 19.1 points per game. Matthew Schneider from Siegel averaged 19.6 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game and 1.4 steals per game. Grant Slatten, of White County High School averaged 36.7 points per game, 4 assists per game, 5 rebounds per game and 2.4 steals per game. Slatten averaged 17 points more a game than his fellow Mr. Basketball finalists. Slatten has set the all-time record for points for his career and has set the all-time record for points in a game at 59.
This sports reporter had the opportunity to talk with Slatten about his career at White County High School and being named as a finalist for Mr. Basketball. When asked about how he felt when he heard the news of the nomination, Grant stated, “All I could feel was excitement and thankfulness. I remember as a freshman I told my mom I wanted to win Mr. Basketball, and now being considered for it I feel like my hard work is paying off. I also know how prestigious this award is, and just to be considered for it is a great accomplishment. I am excited, and, even if I don’t win, it is a great honor.”
Slatten responded about his career at White County High School.
“My career at WCHS has been life changing,” he said. “I’ll never forget any of my time playing ball with my teammates at this great school. Coach Mitchell helped me a lot and gave me more opportunities than most places would have.”
When asked about taking over the all-time career scoring leader from White County High School, Slatten stated, “It was a tremendous experience. Growing up, all I wanted to do was play in the Warrior uniform, and now to be the leading scorer is a childhood dream of mine come true.”
Grant Slatten is the son of Bruce and Beth Slatten. Beth and Bruce Slatten stated that it is hard to put into words what this means to them.
This parents stated the following, “We have always tried to be humble and not boastful about his accomplishments,” they said. “Grant is a very head-strong individual. He is firm in his convictions on and off the court. He told me at a very early age he was going to play college ball. We have always supported our kids in everything they do, and, like most parents, we told him he can do anything he puts the effort into. But first comes your faith in God and secondly your grades, then the game. We have always told him this is a God-given talent, don’t waste it. At 3-4 years of age, he had me, his brother, and anyone else he could find outside in the back yard or on the courts at Woodland Park playing until dark every day. No kidding – every day. He still has that same passion for the game. I think that is what makes him the player he is, the passion and drive. As a parent, we are just so proud of who he is on and off the court, but, to be considered one of the three top best in the state in AAA is such an honor. He has had such an amazing senior season - to me this is the icing on the cake. The last high five for his high school career, if you will.
The Bruce and Beth Slatten continued, “ Grant always said growing up that he would play in the gym that his ‘Grandpa’s name is on the wall for Hall of Fame.’ But, as Brent Jolly and Brad Walker have said, ‘records are made to be broken.’ They both wanted him to succeed. I cannot tell you what that support meant to Grant - to all of us. Both of these men reached out to Grant when he was getting close and then broke the record. Hearing from Brent was a highlight of it all. We have no doubt that Grant’s record will one day be broken, and it is going to be so much fun to watch and support that player as well. As for his career, it was not handed to him, and it came with a lot of hard work. I think that goes without saying. Grant made sacrifices along the way. He gave up his summers to travel and work out on the off season. If given a choice of going to the lake or going to play ball in Nashville, he chose the latter because that was most fun to him. AAU with EAB gave him a lot of experience and opportunity that will be invaluable at the next level. Grant has been blessed with so many great coaches, and to try and list them all we would possibly miss one. But we talk about them often and hope they know that we are grateful for each and every one of you that had a hand in raising this kid.”
Grant spoke about his support from his family through the years.
“My family has been the biggest help in my career to make me as successful as I am,” he said. “They have given me so much guidance and help to hone my skill and get to where I want to be in my career.
Grant Slatten has been a joy to watch for all the Warrior basketball fans during his tenure here at WCHS. He commented on all the younger players that look up to him.
“For all those younger players that are now just beginning their career on the court, keep striving and keep your head up, no matter what,” he said. “Everybody faces some sort of controversy, but how you respond is what makes you who you are. Never stop working.”
White County will be watching on Saturday night, following the AAA State championship game. Tipoff is at 5 p.m., with the awards to follow.