From coaching a young Patrick Ewing in high school, to moving up the ranks and coaching an up and coming star in (then) Ron Artest at St. John's University, there's no doubt that legendary coach Mike Jarvis knows good talent when he sees it.
In addition to SJU, Coach Jarvis has made NCAA stops at schools like Boston University and George Washington University. Despite having mentored some very formidable talents over the years, Coach Jarvis (currently the head coach at Florida Atlantic University) was not one to hesitate when asked to compare guard Greg Gantt's abilities alongside the best players he's coached.
"Most definitely," Coach Jarvis asserted when asked if Gantt could stand tall amongst the rest. "I'm not going to say he could have started on all of my teams, because he wouldn't have. There were a couple of St. John's and GW teams that Greg probably wouldn't have started on. But at worst, he would have been my sixth man. He would have been one of my leading scorers, regardless of what team he was on, because he can really score. He's the kind of guy that any coach would want, because he's a great leader and a great kid."
Such an endorsement is quite telling at a time like this, because Gantt has declared for the 2013 NBA D-League Draft, which takes place November 1st. Having coached him along and seen him up close for the past three years, Coach Jarvis offered his insight on how the guard's skills may translate to the pro game.
He added, "Greg ended up being our school's all-time leading scorer. He scored a lot of points against very good teams. Every year he got better and better. He's the type of kid who knows how to play. He can really shoot the ball, and comes off of screens well. He's unique because he's also the type of guard that can post up and score points around the hoop. He can do it in a number of different ways."
There's no doubt Gantt can pour in the points (he averaged 21.2 points last season at FAU) but at just 6'2" and 205 pounds, he isn't much of a natural floor general. Still, that didn't seem to concern Coach Jarvis all too much.
"I remember a long time ago, Red Auerbach, who was one of my mentors, used to say 'Just get two guys who know how to play, give them the ball, and don't worry about giving them a number," he added. "That's what I think Greg can do."
All things considered, having been under great mentorship before, Gantt is only poised to continue improving with even further guidance in the NBADL. It'll be in the minor league where the young gun truly finds his new identity as a player while watching his skills translate to the pro game. Currently, the young gun is rehabbing from a torn right patella tendon that he suffered back in April. Still, returning in time for D-League training camp in mid to late November remains a possibility, according to a source.
Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt that Gantt has a coach of Coach Jarvis' caliber singing his praises at this point. Asked for his thoughts of the NBA D-League as a whole, the coach added, "I think it's great. It's proven to be a great resource for the NBA. There are plenty of guys, like Greg, who have that dream of playing in the NBA. It gives them a chance to try and fulfill it. The D-League gives them a chance to see how good they really are."