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Juco transfer Tyon Grant-Foster focusing on physical gains ahead of KU arrival

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Incoming junior, Tyon Grant-Foster (bottom), during Tuesday's Instagram Live interview with Mark Gunnels.

Incoming junior, Tyon Grant-Foster (bottom), during Tuesday's Instagram Live interview with Mark Gunnels. by Matt Tait

Less than a month out from officially joining the Jayhawks, class of 2020 Kansas signee Tyon Grant-Foster already is eyeing some big things for his first season with the program.

The 6-foot-7 guard shared a few of them on Tuesday evening, during an Instagram Live interview with Mark Gunnels, who hosts a variety of sports talk shows and podcasts from Los Angeles.

“I just want them to know we’re going right back to the top, right where we left off,” the Indian Hills Community College transfer said when asked what message he had for Kansas fans heading into the 2020 offseason.

Fresh off an honorable mention All-American season at IHCC, where he averaged 16.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, Grant-Foster said this week that he was eager to make the jump to the Division I level.

In order to be ready for what lies ahead, the athletic Kansas City, Kan., native who can play four positions said he had changed up his workouts during the past couple of months.

“I’ve been lifting a lot more than I did in previous years just because I feel like that’s really what my body needs,” he told Gunnels. “I’m not saying that I don’t need to work on my game, but I really just need to get my body bigger. So I’ve been lifting more, but I still workout every day.”

During quarantine times amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Grant-Foster’s workout routine has been constantly changing, from drills in gyms with his old AAU coach to playing outside or getting up shots with close friends.

“Wherever I can get it in, that’s where I go,” Grant-Foster said.

The one thing that has remained the same throughout the past couple of months has been Grant-Foster’s willingness to put in the work required to get better.

Asked where his work ethic and drive came from, Grant-Foster told Gunnels that it all started when he was young.

“It really was my dad,” he said. “He just pushed me so hard and it was like, ‘Any way to get this man to shut up and stop yelling at me, I’m going to do it.’ That’s really what made me start working the hardest.”

KU coach Bill Self said last season that Grant-Foster would’ve played big minutes for the 2019-20 Jayhawks. And with Udoka Azubuike, Devon Dotson and Isaiah Moss no longer on the roster, the opportunity exists for Grant-Foster to get the kind of playing time Self talked about during the 2020-21 season.

Having attended Schlagle High in KCK, Grant-Foster grew up a big KU fan. And the opportunity to play for the program he loved growing up has him excited and not worried about the pressure that comes with it.

“To me, I feel like it’s the same,” he said of his experience at junior college. “Indian Hills is one of the top jucos ever, so it’s a lot of pressure playing there. So I feel like it’ll just transfer over. You’ve got to hoop regardless, no matter where you’re at. You can’t be worried about all the other stuff.”

Grant-Foster lists current Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George as his favorite player and current Houston Rockets guard Ben McLemore as his favorite KU player of all-time. He also said people have told him he looks a little like former KU guard Andrew Wiggins.

Regardless of who he resembles, which players he tries to emulate or what his goals are for the future, the junior-to-be who will wear No. 1 next season said Tuesday that KU was the perfect place for the next step in his basketball career.

“I felt like that was just where I needed to be,” he told Gunnels. “And I knew I could come in and make an impact and be very successful there. It just felt like it was the right thing to do.”

Asked how much communication he has had with Self during the past couple of months, Grant-Foster said the two have talked a lot but he didn’t go into specifics about their conversations.

“I’m not going to put that out there,” he said with a laugh. “You all just have to tune in and see.”

Big 12 Conference guidelines recently pinpointed July 6 as the first day for men’s and women’s basketball players to return to campuses for the start of voluntary offseason activities. Self told the Journal-World last week that he was targeting that date as the time to start bringing his players back and turning the page to the 2020-21 season.

Comments

Scott MacWilliams 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Hey Matt, good to hear about the new players, but there's one question I wish someone would address. How are they going to play with masks on? Or are they going to just hope that keeping everyone tested on a regular basis (and isolated from the public) will prevent any infections and play open-face? Have they got any policy or guidelines set up? Will AFH be limited to 5000 or 6000 fans? Thanks, and Rock Chalk!

Matt Tait 3 weeks, 2 days ago

No one has even begun to answer those questions definitively yet. They've talked through all of it and are still observing the landscape and waiting to see how it looks in October when basketball gets going.

Here's my guess on what it'll look like:

• There will be extensive testing done. Football players are being tested this week and next as they return to campus for voluntary activities starting next Monday. Basketball players are allowed back July 6 and some form of testing surely will happen then, as well.

• Because of that, players will not be wearing masks. They may at classes and in common areas but not while playing.

• Both Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse will operate at far less than full capacity. What those numbers are is hard to know right now, but I'd bet AFH will be less than half full when games are played. Some out there (like Villanova coach Jay Wright) are still of the belief that college basketball won't have fans this season. Time will tell.

The Big 12 has set up several guidelines for the return to campus stuff and no doubt will have guidelines for competition. KU has been following those while developing their own in areas specific to KU's facilities.

I expect to know more about all of this later this summer and in the coming weeks, but right now they're very much in a wait-and-see mode while planning out as many potential options and contingencies as possible.

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