News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

April 4, 2014

Prusator gives ISU a shooter for 2015

TERRE HAUTE — In college basketball recruiting circles, “Hutch” — the oft-used nickname for the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan. every March — gives junior college players the exposure they relish to punch a golden ticket to a Division I scholarship.

Grant Prusator only played one game at “Hutch” for Highland Community College, but it was good enough for him to realize a dream.

Prusator, a native of Rochelle, Ill., has made a verbal commitment to play basketball for Indiana State starting in the 2014-15 season. He will have three years of eligibility with the Sycamores as he played just one year for Highland.

Prusator’s performance in the NJCAA Tournament was the biggest reason he is now a Sycamore. Prusator scored 32 points in Highland’s 81-79 loss to eventual NJCAA champion Jones County. Prusator was 9 of 16 from the field, including 8 of 13 from 3-point range. He was also perfect at the line.

The performance drew raves from all present, including Jones County coach Jay Ladner, who told the Hutchinson (Kan.) News that Prusator “put on a clinic” in the 32-point outburst.

ISU assistant coach Marcus Belcher witnessed the March 18 performance too. On Belcher’s recommendation, ISU coach Greg Lansing met with Prusator two days later. Soon after that, he committed to ISU. The entire process took six days.

“It was quick. The biggest draw for me was the players on the team and the coaches. Everyone has such good chemistry,” Prusator said.

What ISU likes about the 6-foot-1 Prusator is his shooting. Prusator averaged 13 points for Highland — an Arrowhead Conference member located in Freeport, Ill. Most of his production came via the 3-point shot. He converted 42.7 percent of his 3-point attempts for the Cougars.

ISU needs Prusator’s outside touch. Eligibility has been exhausted for ISU shooters Dawon Cummings and Lucas Eitel and the Sycamores didn’t shoot the ball well from long range in 2014 even with them.

ISU ranked last in Missouri Valley Conference-only 3-point shooting at 30.7 percent. By February, many league teams were using 2-3 zones against the Sycamores in an effort to force them to rely on their 3-point shooting.

“It’s hard for me to give a self-scouting report, but I think I do bring good shooting and the ability to score the basketball. I bring efficiency too,” said Prusator, who said he played both the off-guard and small forward spots for Highland.

“Whatever it is they define as my role, I expect to do, I assume it’ll be to shoot the basketball,” he added.

Prusator’s Division I dream was deferred for a bit during his senior year at Rochelle Township High School. Prusator tore the MCL in his right knee during the second game of the season at the LaSalle-Peru Tournament in 2012. He didn’t return to action until January, but the chance to impress recruiters had passed him by.

“I had some schools showing interest before that, but I was hoping to have a good senior year and get started with the process of choosing a school, but it didn’t happen so I had to look for alternative options. I thought Highland was the place I could chase my dream,” Prusator said.

Now that his dream has taken him to ISU, he knows all about the challenge ahead. Rochelle, located in north-central Illinois about 40 miles south of Rockford, is not out of sight, out of mind when it comes to exposure to the MVC.

“The MVC is pretty popular due to [Wichita State guard and MVC Player of the Year] Fred Van Vleet being from Rockford. It’s a good basketball conference,” Prusator said.

Per NCAA rules, Lansing cannot comment on Prusator until he signs his letter of intent. The basketball signing period begins April 16.

 

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