Who is Grant Nelson?
My evaluation — and that of several NBA scouts — of the new Internet sensation and NBA Draft prospect
If you follow college basketball via social media, there’s a good chance Grant Nelson’s highlights have come across your timeline in the last 48 hours.
We know how a ridiculous dunk or nasty crossover can give an unknown player instant notoriety and millions of social media views. But this is the first time I’ve seen Instagram and Twitter highlight reels transform a little-known prospect — in this case an obscure 6’11” forward at North Dakota State University — into an overnight sensation in the NBA Draft world.
“Have you heard of Grant Nelson from NDSU?” an NBA scout texted me Tuesday morning about an hour after the clip was uploaded. “Is he worth seeing in person? Does he have a chance as a 2nd Rd guy?”
My first thought: “Why does that name sound familiar?”
Then I vaguely remembered watching him when he faced off against Kansas very early in the season. In my scouting notes, I had written:
Skilled, moves like a wing. Fluid and can handle the ball. He likes to face up bigs and post up smaller defenders. Not sure if he can shoot it, and doesn't always sprint the floor in transition.
I was intrigued, but clearly not impressed.
But in a 24-hour span this week, I was tagged, called or texted 13 times regarding Nelson:
“Who is this guy?”
“What do you know about him?”
“Why isn’t he a first rounder on your board?”
“Do you think he’s worth a two-way?
When I saw the clips, it didn’t take long to see why Nelson is so intriguing and has taken NBA Draft social media by storm — just like when you hear a song and know right away you’re adding it to your playlist.