USC Men's Basketball

‘Chip on my shoulder.’ A motivated Hassani Gravett is gaining momentum with NBA teams

What’s changed for Hassani Gravett this season? USC guard explains

South Carolina Gamecocks guard Hassani Gravett has saved the best basketball of his career for his senior season.
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South Carolina Gamecocks guard Hassani Gravett has saved the best basketball of his career for his senior season.

Teammates of three years, Hassani Gravett and Chris Silva have remained in touch in the months since their final game as South Carolina Gamecocks.

The conversations are still led by basketball. As in, “How was your workout with (this NBA team)? What things should I expect for mine?”

Gravett on Tuesday will work out for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Silva will do the same for the Charlotte Hornets. For Silva, it’s his third this draft season with a specific franchise — and seventh overall when you include last spring when he tested the NBA waters before returning to USC. The process hasn’t been as diverse for Gravett. The guard appreciates any tips from his former big man.

“We’ve discussed different workouts that he’s done,” said Gravett, who’s only worked out for the Hornets in April. “I feel like he has a lot more hype around his name than I do, so he’s done a few more workouts than I have. So I’ve asked him, ‘How’s this workout?’ ‘What went down at this workout?’ ‘What kind of things should I look out for and be ready for?’

“We haven’t been talking day to day, but we’ve both been out here just grinding.”

Silva had a decorated college career that ended with a second consecutive first-team All-SEC selection. Gravett is the reigning SEC Sixth Man of the Year. Neither is projected to be drafted in a couple weeks, but they’re both touring the country to get in front of as many eyes as possible.

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Gravett has participated at combines in California and Las Vegas. He told The State his performances have led to conversations with the Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Hornets and Cavaliers.

“Hopefully, that either means they’re gonna invite to me a workout or possibly, I don’t know, bring me in for the summer league team or something,” Gravett said. “I’ve just been out here, putting in work, man, try to open eyes. I know I might not have the hype that a lot of people have, but I have a chip on my shoulder. I’m out here trying to show them the abilities that I have.”

Gravett joined Silva at the Pro Basketball Combine on May 21-22 in Thousand Oaks, California. Competing in front of NBA and G League personnel, Gravett scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds in one game. He also posted a 42.5-inch vertical leap, the third-best of the PBC’s 24 participants.

“I think there were a couple things I noticed about him that really stood out,” said Jake Kelfer, PBC founder and director. “One was his ability to shoot. I mean, the guy has range for days. That was pretty evident.

“The second thing is his athleticism. I didn’t realize how athletic he was. I think he tested really well in our jumping test as well as a few other tests — in terms of rebound speed, with some of the advanced analytic that we have at the combine. I think he’s one of the higher ranked players that were there in terms of being able to get off the ground, hit the ground and get back up. So there’s a lot of benefits there.

“And then also, in terms of his sheer competitiveness. I mean, he was trying to shoot the ball every time he could. When he was sitting on the sidelines waiting for his opportunity to get on the court, the guy was in the gym, he was working hard. And then when he was on the court, man, he was competitive. And there’s something to be said about people who are competitive and people who are out there to get theirs.

“And I think he showed a great competitive spirit at the PBC and that’s something that I believe is a quality characteristic for somebody in his spot, fighting for a summer league roster, for a G League roster and hopefully playing in the NBA one day.”

The 6-foot-3 Gravett last season led the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage in conference games. He wants NBA teams to know, though, that he’s more than a shooter.

“I just want them to look at me more so in my role as a point guard,” Gravett said. “As you guys know, Frank (Martin) moved me to the (shooting guard) this year, so I was playing shooting guard mostly. But I can score the ball, so that’s why people sometime say ‘Oh, well he’s a shooting guard.’ But I mean, if you look at today’s game, look at the point guards — Damian Lillard, Steph Curry, those are scoring point guards.

“I’m able to use the pick and roll and use my teammates and get myself involved and create for others just as easy as it is to create my own shot.”

Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.

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