The news just keeps on coming folks, and I just keep on spending less time on my day job. Pretty incredible start to the week if you ask me.
After Baylor Men’s Basketball locked in transfers Jalen Bridges and Caleb Lohner, the question was “when” not “if” Scott Drew and his staff would explore JUCO options. Bridges is a wing and Lohner is a stretch big, so it seemed most likely that next transfer addition would be a JUCO guard given the gaps on the roster. We have seen Drew do this in the past, most recently last season with Dale Bonner.
The Baylor coaching staff stayed true to form, kept up the recruiting momentum, and received a commitment late last night from Dantwan Grimes. Grimes is a JUCO product out of Kilgore Junior College in Kilgore, Texas.
Grimes held offers from various Division I schools, among them Big 12 rival Oklahoma State, but ultimately chose to join the Bears. I’ll keep it a buck, I hadn’t heard Dantwan Grimes’ name before yesterday, but after watching some tape I am ecstatic with what he could bring to the Baylor.
2022 All-Star Selection— JCBCA (@NJCAAMBBCoaches) April 13, 2022
Dantwan Grimes (@DantwanGrimes) of @KilgoreMBB has been selected to the Division I team for the 2022 @NJCAAMBBCoaches All-Star Game presented by @NABC1927 in Las Vegas!
✅DI 2nd Team All-American
✅1st Team All-Conference
✅Region XIV Tournament MVP pic.twitter.com/IpcKlYirot
Stats, Measurables, and Background
Dantwan Grimes is coming to Baylor after spending his first two college seasons at Kilgore Junior College, where he elected to take the JUCO route to begin his college career. There is little information on Grimes’ recruiting status out of high school which could point to his decision to go the JUCO path. Grimes stands at 6’ 2” and weighs 190 lbs.
Grimes went to Vanguard High School in his hometown of Ocala, FL. Grimes averaged 16.6 PPG, 1.8 APG, 3.8 RPG, and 1.8 SPG while playing varsity ball at Vanguard. Grimes was not a highly rated recruit out of high school and took his talents to Kilgore to jumpstart his college career.
As a Freshman at Kilgore, Grimes played in 23 games and started in 19. He averaged 12.2 PPG, 3.7 APG, 2.7 APG; shooting 42.1% from the field, 37% from three, and 68.4% from the free throw line.
In his Sophomore season Grimes took on a bigger role for Kilgore. He played and started in 34 games and increased his production. Grimes averaged 14.1 PPG, 3.2 APG, and 4.1 RPG this past season. The most notable increase was that Grimes raised his FT% from 68.4% to 81.3%.
In his final season with Kilgore, Grimes was a 2nd Team JUCO All American. He also led the Kilgore Rangers on a deep JUCO tournament run showing he can be a leader of a successful team.
Tale of the Tape
Let me tell you what, JUCO tape is few and far between. But thanks to Twitter and YouTube we are going to make it happen.
Grimes Offensive Game
The aspect of Grimes’ game that most jumped out at me was his speed. Grimes has a quick first step that he uses to create separation from defenders. His tight ball handle is key here as well, Grimes is able to play quick while being under control.
Grimes does a great job of getting to his spots in the mid-range where he often will go to a step back or crossover pull-up jumper. He knocks down mid-range jump shots at a high rate, which keeps defenders honest. If he is pressed too tightly at the elbow he has the speed to blow by his defender and get to the rim.
Grimes has a good frame for a guard and is able to finish in traffic when he gets to the rim. There are a few highlight plays at the rim where Grimes uses his athleticism to hang in the air and finish over bigger players.
A bright spot in Grimes’ offensive game is his three point shooting. Grimes has the potential to knock down threes at a 40% clip and has deep range when left uncovered. He can bury threes on the pull-up but is lethal on catch and shoot looks.
Here’s where I stay true to form on potentially outlandish hot takes. Dantwan Grimes’ offensive game gives me flashes of Davion Mitchell. The quickness, confidence, and swagger he carries himself with made me revisit the NBA Dave highlights from the natty run. Yes I have been referring to Davion as NBA Dave in addition to Off-Night, sue me.
Grimes Defensive Game
There was basically no tape of him playing defense so I dug into the depths of Twitter and recruiting articles to get some people’s feedback and analysis. These are some of the consistent comments on Grimes’ defensive game.
“Plays physical on ball defense”, “quick feet and active hands to disrupt ball handlers”, “team defender”, and “athletic enough to defend shots at the rim when a help defender”.
These are all great characteristics of what we would be looking for in a JUCO product. All of those just shout to me that Dantwan Grimes is going to be an extremely coachable player.
The biggest X-Factor to me will be Grimes’ ability to pick up the Baylor system. If Grimes can step in and learn the offense and defense quickly, I think he could be a huge piece to provide depth at the guard position.
Also Grimes is a straight up winner. In his two seasons at Kilgore he has led the Rangers to a 49-9 record with 2 NJCAA National Tournament Appearances. He will fit right in with the Baylor culture.
JUCO players are often a bit of a coin flip in how their game will translate at the Division I level. That being said, I am extremely confident in the recruiting, player development, and coaching on Baylor’s staff. So although we don’t know a ton about Dantwan Grimes, I trust that he will be an asset in whatever role he is asked to fill for the Bears.
The addition of Grimes will likely round out the Baylor roster for next season. Grimes provides huge relief from a depth perspective after Baylor lost Dillon Hunter to Clemson, potentially Adam Flagler to the draft, and there are still looming questions about LJ Cryer’s foot injuries.
My assumption is Grimes will not play huge minutes unless there is an injury, which no one hopes for, and he is pushed into a similar spot as Dale Bonner last year. The good news is from everything we have seen and heard Grimes is a high enough caliber player to step in for Baylor and contribute when his number is called.
Is it basketball season yet?