QUINCY — Troy Potts offered Grant Hyer the opportunity to avoid regret.
The former Quincy Notre Dame two-sport standout didn’t hesitate seizing it.
Potts, a graduate assistant coach with the Quincy University men’s basketball program, invited Hyer to an informal tryout at Pepsi Arena in June. After showcasing his skills in a series of pickup games, Hyer was invited back to continue a conversation about joining the Hawks with QU coach Ryan Hellenthal.
“From there, it’s been all good things,” Hyer said.
With the paperwork officially filed, the honorable mention all-state guard will walk on to the QU program this fall.
“I thought I would regret not playing more than trying it out for a year and seeing how it goes,” the 6-foot-2 Hyer said.
Hyer, who graduated from QND in May, had been considering attending other schools for educational purposes alone. The competitive fire ignited by the pickup games convinced him he needed to get back in the game.
“The first time I got back on the court, with a real competitive nature where you’re out there to show your skill set, definitely stoked that fire,” Hyer said. “It was a whole different mindset being there playing instead of playing a pickup game with some friends. It felt like a real game even without fans or coaches or anything like that.”
Hyer’s ability to embrace competition helped him connect with Hellenthal, who is heading into his fifth season at the helm.
“There’s nothing but good things I could say about him,” Hyer said. “I like the way he runs his program and how he carries himself and how he wants us to carry ourselves. I think I could do really well in that situation.”
Hyer averaged 18.7 points last winter as the Raiders went 11-3 and won the 1,500th game in program history in the process. He shot 57 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3-point range to go along with five assists, four rebounds and three steals per game. He scored a career-high 34 points against Payson Seymour and scored in double digits in all 14 games.
Also a standout wide receiver and defensive back on the QND football team, Hyer had college coaches in both sports pursuing him. The consistency and success he enjoyed on the hardwood made him see college basketball as a viable option.
“It kind of dawned on me midseason that I may be able to do this,” Hyer said. “Every athlete or competitor wants to play at the next level or keep playing for as long as they’ll let you. When the opportunity came, I thought there was no reason not to.”
The proximity to home made QU an obvious choice.
“My family plays a huge role in my life,” Hyer said. “That’s my extended family, too. My grandparents, my aunts and uncles, etc. Not many can say they have the support from their family like I do. Being able to play in front of them without them having to drive five-plus hours like what it could be is key.
“Playing home games in front of my family and friends, there’s just no better feeling.”
His adjustment to college life on the QU campus should be seamless, especially within the basketball program. He’s played several games in the facility and attended many Great Lakes Valley Conference contests over the years.
“I’m familiar with the gym, familiar with the people around me, familiar with the environment,” Hyer said. “So I think it will be a good fit.”
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