It took three seasons before a Canadian was handed the responsibility to coach in the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC).
Fred Grannum, an assistant coach at Humber College since 2010, made history when Mississauga Power hired him to lead the relocated franchise, which will play in the Hershey Centre this season. The club played its first two years at the General Motors Centre in Oshawa.
Playing in front of sparse crowds, the franchise missed the playoffs its first two years while compiling a 33-43 record.
Grannum plans to instil a winning attitude with the Power.
“This is definitely a job I wanted and I will do my best to ensure that the franchise is successful,” said Grannum. “It will start with our players embracing the fundamentals and being willing to want to play defence in a system-oriented up-tempo style.”
Humber College coach Shawn Collins and Canadian men junior coach Roy Rana endorsed Grannum’s appointment.
“He’s a great coach and motivator,” said Collins. “He engages the players and gets the most out of their talents. Fred was a great asset in keeping with our strong tradition of winning at Humber and will be sadly missed. The Humber family’s loss is the Mississauga Power’s gain.”
Rana is confident that the Power will be successful with Grannum at the helm.
“The Mississauga Power has hired a technically sound character coach who will inspire more than just his team,” said Rana, who is also Ryerson’s head coach. “He is a leader in the Mississauga community and will make a significant impact on the court and beyond.”
Grannum has hit the ground running in his new role.
Last week, he attended the league’s pre-draft combine in Orangeville and the draft in Markham in which the Power used its fourth pick to select Sudanese-born 6’7” forward Bol Kong, who played a season at Gonzaga University.
“I think his style of play will mesh with what we are trying to do on the court,” said Grannum.
The Power used their second and third round picks on Dwight McCombs, Marcus James, Eric Petty Jr. and Branko Veljovic.
A 6’8” centre, McCombs was released by the University of Central Florida in January 2012 after just 15 games in his senior season while James is a 6’7” forward who played for Seward County and the Sam Houston State Bearkats.
Petty, who went undrafted in the National Basketball Association four years ago, is a power forward and Veljovic is a swingman.
Born in Barbados, Grannum came to Canada at age four and graduated from George Harvey Collegiate Institute. He spent 18 months at Cloud County Community College in Kansas before returning home to complete his collegiate career at Canadore College in North Bay and Durham College.
Grannum, who spent three seasons with the Toronto Raptors in their ticketing and game operations departments, recently assisted with the preparation of the Power Canadian Development Team which travelled to China for the Four Nations Invitational tournament and was the Power Pro-Am Summer League head coach. He was also a team coach at the All Canada Prospect Camp and Havergal College’s head coach.
Fully immersed in basketball, it’s not surprising that Grannum’s three children are actively involved in the sport.
Juwon Grannum, a forward who scored 1,540 on his SAT test, was Rookie of the Year last season at Ryerson, where’s he’s majoring in aerospace engineering; middle child Xavier Rathan-Mayes graduated from Huntington Prep and is the only Canadian on Florida State University’s roster entering his freshman year and Grade Six student, Jada Grannum, is a forward with the Toronto Triple Threat which won the gold medal last March in the Division Two provincial championship.
Grannum plans to take 20 players to the Power pre-season camp in the first week of October.
The team opens the season on November 2 at home against London Lightning. The 10-team regular season ends on February 28.
By RON FANFAIR