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Five Questions/Quick HItters: Grant McGinnis

10/01/2022, 1:00pm CDT
By Chuck Thompson

This edition of Five Questions & Quick Hitters is with Grant McGinnis, scout & writer for Prep Girls Hoops Minnesota. Grant does a tremendous job for the girls players in Minnesota, and I appreciate the time Grant!

 

1. We'll start with a little background if that's ok. What got you into sports writing, and what ultimately led to you joining Prep Girls Hoops?

I grew up devouring the sports section of the newspaper. By the time I was in high school it was obvious I wasn’t going to be a great athlete so becoming a sportswriter was the next best thing in my teenage mind. Writing comes easy for me. I graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in journalism which is where I first covered high-level college basketball. Like so many guys it was my daughter who got me interested in girls hoops. Once I started watching the Minnesota Lynx I was hooked with how the women’s game is played. Writing about it seemed like a logical thing to do. I had no idea it would turn into such a big endeavor.

 

2. I know you're not only a supporter of Girls basketball, but a huge Lynx fan, as well as Minnesota United and Minnesota Aurora soccer. Where do you loves of basketball and soccer come from as you grew up?

We have been Lynx season ticket holders since Lindsay Whalen arrived, and we have seats for both Minnesota United and Aurora. My interest in soccer also came from my kids. My son is a diehard fan. We used to go to Minnesota Thunder games at St. Paul Central nearly 20 years ago. The club has come a long way since then! When the Aurora formed this year we wanted to support the women’s game so my partner Mary and I invested in the team and went to every game. It was a blast!

 

3. As you cover girls hoops, you really can find yourself attached to the players and hoping for their success. What are some of the favorite things you get to experience as a writer on the girls basketball circuit?

My favorite thing is to “discover” a player for the first time when they are in the 7th or 8th grade, make a positive prediction about their potential, offer them some encouragement along the way, and then see it all come together as the years go by. When I watch college basketball now it seems like I always know at least one or two players in every game and it’s incredibly satisfying that we played some part in helping them make it to the next level. I enjoy getting to know the kids and their families. I spend a lot of time behind the scenes on recruiting, both helping the players and the college coaches find the right fit. People don’t see that aspect of it because it’s not up on the website or out there on Twitter but it is incredibly impactful and very satisfying. It’s amazing what you can get done with a phone call to the right person.

 

4. You have been gradually covering more and more regional events/teams/players in addition to Minnesota. What are some of your favorite things about covering new players, and what are some of the challenges?

My preference is to have very deep knowledge on a smaller number of players. I have 1,000 kids in my Minnesota database and my goal is to know more about them than anyone else. That’s all the challenge I can handle. As you know, it gets more and more difficult when you add to those  numbers. As Prep Girls Hoops has grown they’ve asked me to cover events out of state, as well, and I have enjoyed that, too. It’s always fun to go into the gym knowing nothing about any of the kids on the court and trying to figure it all out in a day or two. It also makes me a little nervous starting from zero like that.

 

5. We all know you well through your basketball coverage and your sports allegiances, but what are some of the other activities you enjoy doing when you have some free time?

Well I don’t really have much free time. I essentially have two full-time jobs now. I am the communications director for a national organization (iltf.org) that works with American Indian Tribes to buy their traditional lands back, which is obviously a big undertaking. Fortunately I have a lot of flexibility in my work. Mary and I like to travel when we can, and we love to try new restaurants every week. I live in St. Anthony Main, so we do a lot of walking along the Mississippi River and in the North Loop. This summer we bought a Mazda convertible so there were a lot of fun drives on twisty roads. I used to be an avid golfer but there never seems to be time for that now.

 

Quick Hitters:

1. Favorite High School gym to cover a game from, in terms of atmosphere: Lake City

2. Favorite non-High School gym to cover an event from: Hutton Arena at Hamline University

3.Favorite WNBA player: I have to say Rachel Banham or I’ll never hear the end of it!

4.Favorite city you've lived in: Winnipeg

5.Go-to snack or drink when watching games: Coffee

6.Where to next on your coverage: Duluth for a private evaluation session

7.Where did you live as a kid: Mostly in Winnipeg but also in Africa

8.Favorite Holiday: Labor Day. I love the fall.

9.Last Google search:  How to turn an Excel spreadsheet into text

10.Favorite music to listen to on drives to games/events: I’m a podcast guy. 

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