Thursday, March 07, 2002

Grunkemeyer learns coaching ropes

By Gary Estwick
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        As Saint Louis ended basketball practice Tuesday afternoon at Firstar Center, Jason Grunkemeyer was summoned to the sideline.

        “Can you wait a minute,” he asked, dribbling a basketball between his legs.

        Grunkemeyer was in the middle of a shoot-off with assistant coach Cameron Dollar and a team manager.

        The way Grunkemeyer stroked four straight 3-pointers, he didn't seem to be too far removed from his sharp-shooting days at Moeller High and Miami University.

        He has, though, moved down the bench. Grunkemeyer is in his first year as a graduate assistant at Saint Louis.

        “It's cool, man,” he said. “I like it a lot.”

        Grunkemeyer was added to the staff in May. He has known head coach Lorenzo Romar since junior high. Romar played for Athletes in Action, then based in Lebanon. They kept in touch, and after Grunkemeyer ended his playing career, he called Romar.

        Grunkemeyer, who played at Ohio before transfering to Miami, is following the road taken by his father, John, a longtime basketball coach at Mount Healthy. Grunkemeyer enjoys the strategies behind basketball: setting up the X's and O's and building team chemistry.

        “I've always been fascinated by that kind of stuff,” he said. “It was something I thought I was raised to do.”

        Grunkemeyer hasn't completely ended his playing days. When the Billikens have been short on players in practice this season, he has run up and down the court with the team.

        “It's been kind of cool,” he said. “We get some heated battles going.”



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