Growing up, Grant Nelson was your average North Dakota kid. He loved spending time outdoors and playing his favorite sport with his friends. However, he is not your average North Dakota born basketball player.
Hailing from Devils Lake, Nelson burst onto the scene as a true freshman for NDSU last season, earning the Summit League Sixth Man of the Year award and a spot on the league’s All-Newcomer Team. In the process, Nelson shot 47.1 % from the field and 35.6% from three while leading the team with 25 blocks.
There is no question that the blend of length, athleticism and ability to shoot the three that the 6 ft 11 in Forward displayed in his freshman season was exciting, to say the least. And perhaps offered only a glimpse of what’s to come down the line.
What are some of your fondest memories of growing up in Devils Lake?
There wasn’t much to do besides go to the lake or play basketball. Basketball with my friends was probably some of the most fun times I had.
What are some of the things you liked to do on the lake?
I used to fish a lot. I also liked to wakeboard, wake surf, tube, pretty much any sort of water activity
Was playing at NDSU always a goal of yours growing up?
Growing up, I didn’t really have that high of an expectation for myself. It wasn’t until my sophomore year when I really started to grow and I realized my potential really could be Division I. After my sophomore and junior year, I knew I wanted to play Division I so I started playing AAU ball. That opened up a lot of doors and the NDSU coaches started talking to me.
I’ve always really liked this school and followed their basketball and football team pretty much my whole life.
Devils Lake has produced a lot of great athletes, but I don’t think people around the country would label it as basketball hotbed. What are some things you did growing up to develop your skills to get to the point you’re at today?
I was really just going to the gym pretty much every day and playing at the park a lot. I think my sophomore and my junior I would go to the park pretty much every day after school.
What have been some of your favorite parts about living in Fargo?
Fargo is just great. It’s a great community. I’ve had a lot of friends here from playing AAU ball. A lot of them live in Fargo. It’s just nice to be in a bigger town. There are a lot more things to do.
Do you have any favorite places around town?
In the summer, I like to go to the pool with my teammates. I have family members here that I hang out with a lot. But other than that, it’s pretty much basketball.
What does it mean to be playing in your home state?
It means a lot.
Did you expect to contribute as much as you did last season?
I did expect to play. I wanted to go to a college where I could play right away. I felt NDSU was a great spot for me where I could contribute right away. It’s also a great school with a great culture. I was expecting big of myself and the coaches were as well. So I just did what I could to contribute and it paid off.
What do you want to do with your sports management majors?
I’d like to maybe become a coach or continue playing basketball. My ultimate goal is to play in the NBA or somewhere else.