Caleb Grill is fourth player in Iowa State’s 2019 recruiting class. He was previously committed to South Dakota State under former Iowa State assistant, TJ Otzelberger. Otz left for UNLV, which was in Grill’s top 3. However, he chose Iowa State over the Running Rebels and K-State.
Grill is a 6’3, 180 pound point guard from Maize, Kansas. Since his commitment to Iowa State, he has jumped from #497 in the 247sports composite rankings, up to 165. A boost that is well deserved after watching his film.
Grill will enter a fairly open back court in his freshman year. Tyrese Haliburton is the only returning starting guard from last years team. The Colorado State transfer, Prentiss Nixon, will more than likely start next to him. Other than that, Grill’s competition for playing time is mostly the other freshman guard, Tre Jackson. This team has a lack of guards, so Grill could make an impact in his freshman year.
Caleb Grill is a fun basketball player. He shoots a lot of threes, plays aggressive defense, and is very athletic. He loves to be aggressive on both sides of the ball. He attacks the basket a lot and can finish it and dish at a high level. He’s also not afraid to pull the trigger from anywhere on the court. He is elite at getting his shot off whenever he wants to and is the true definition of a “bucket getter.”
On the defensive side, he is pretty aggressive when it comes to steals. Since he is quick, he can stay in front of almost every small guard, but he’s also bigger for a guard so he can hold his own down low. His vertical also allows him to be a threat to block a few shots too.
The best part about Grill is easily his shooting. In this clip you can see his beautiful jump shot. In this video, he catches it off balance, but still his his shot up straight. The defense does a really good job of contesting it, but Grill manages to get enough space to drain the shot.
His ability to get good shots off in traffic is something that Iowa State has lacked since Matt Thomas graduated. Lindell Wigginton showed flashes off an elite catch and shoot ability, but never consistently. If we’re getting another Matt Thomas, that would be a blessing for Steve Prohm.
Here is another catch and shoot three, but this one is from well beyond NBA range. Once again, he has a very pretty shot and gets a perfect release with a defender closing out on him. Having a guy that you can’t leave open anywhere on the court is so valuable, as it creates tons of space for slashers to operate.
This shot is deep, but it’s not catch and shoot. This is the first time we get to see Grill show off his handle. He does a good job by creating separation with a cross over while utilizing the screen. The defender has another good close out, but Grill gets the shot up still and hits a really nice three.
This was the best example I found of Grill creating his own shot. He won’t be asked to do this a ton as a freshman, but since he has this in his skill set, this could be a big part of his game as he matures.
This play here is a display of Grill’s athleticism. It starts out with Grill pump faking a three, which he forces the defense to respect. This leads to him beating the defense and going into the paint. While in the paint, he took it himself and made an acrobat finish to get the bucket plus a foul. The way he sucked the defense in on this play will open up his offense later in the game to be able to dish it out to the perimeter.
This is the complement to the last play. Grill finds a way to get into the paint and he makes the defense collapse. When the defense collapses on him, he makes a great pass and finds the open man under the hoop. This left him in the position to shoot a floater or make a pass to a cutter. His playmaking ability is definitely there, and his style could compliment Tyrese Haliburton very well.
Fadeaways are generally not the shot that a lot of Iowa State guards use. However, this shot from Grill looks pretty good. It’s not a high percentage shot by any means, but this shot in his pocket can be useful during his career.
This is where Grill’s athleticism is on full display. There isn’t much to break down on this play other than watch in awe of how hard he throws down these two lobs. It will be really fun to see Grill throw down some monstrous dunks throughout his time in Ames.
Here is another example of Grill’s impressive athleticism. He gets above the rim to pin the ball against the backboard and made the guard look outmatched. All of the aspects of Grill’s game are pretty awesome and came with a lot of hard work, but the athleticism he has is something he was born with and he for sure uses it to his advantage.
My first time watching his film, I saw a copy of Donte DiVincenzo, a former Villanova guard and final four MVP. Below is NBADraft.net and their breakdown of Divincenzo, and here are his college highlights.
This sounds pretty similar to what I just watched with Grill. Donte does have two inches on Grill, but their strengths (athleticism, shooting, and IQ) are nearly identical.
Caleb Grill probably won’t score 31 points off of the bench in the National Championship game, if I’m being realistic. He probably also won’t be a first round pick, but the skillset that Grill brings to the table is exactly what DiVincenzo brought to Villanova just a couple of seasons ago.
I think it’s safe to say that I’m stoked about Caleb Grill. I’ll admit, I was disappointed when Sahvir Wheeler chose Georgia over Iowa State. But the counterpart of that is that Iowa State gets this kid instead. Grill has every skill on the basketball court that I love, from his shot and fearlessness to his athleticism and decision making, he has the potential to be great.
It will be pretty hard for Grill to start as a freshman, but he will for sure have the opportunity to make an impact off of the bench. If he can carry over what he did in high school, and keep the work ethic that is pretty apparent, we are going to love him in the Cardinal & Gold.