Senior guard Keaton Grant came to Purdue as a shy guy who liked to keep to himself.
But he's come out of his shell a bit over the past four years, and that was evident when we chatted for about 20 minutes before the season.
My "random questions" turned into Grant opening up about his family back home in Florida.
If you could have a super power, what would it be? Reading minds. If you can read minds, I think that's the biggest advantage of anything. No flame-thrower or anything like that. But if you could read minds, you could have influence over anybody or anything. I always like to mess with people's heads anyways.
What was your favorite toy as a kid? LEGOs was probably the biggest one. But growing up, I really wasn't allowed to play with toys like that. My dad (James), he wanted us to be social. So if I was in my room playing with toys – because my brother (James) was six years older than me, out doing bigger and better things – so if I was in my room alone, playing with toys, he'd be like, 'Get out of the room. Go outside.' I think that's how I got started with basketball. He bought me a hoop and I'd just play out there, thought I was in a game. I just always wanted to dunk.
How long did that take? I guess it'd depend on if you could lower the rim. Yeah. Lower the rim. I'd take the broomstick and poke it in (to lower it). I think I ended up breaking two rims. Even in high school, that was my thing to do. I wasn't really big on shooting. I was just dunking. I didn't learn until prep school that shooting was important. Because I was more athletic than anybody I played in high school or AAU trip, so I tried to get to the basketball and tried to dunk on them. But in prep school, the players were like, 'KG can't shoot. So just sag off on him.' I'm like, 'Aw, hell no.' So that's when I really got focused on shooting the basketball. It's just too bad it didn't carry over with me my freshman year.
Is there a TV show you can't miss? I like to TiVo things because I hate commercials. I love to watch Martin Lawrence, his TV show. But that was back in the day.
Yeah, is it on like TBS or something? Yeah. But a show I can't miss that's on right now is a show called "Sons of Anarchy." It's about a biker gang. I don't know why I like that show so much. But it's interesting.
Would you be a good reality TV star? If it was on the basketball team, I think it would be just because people think of me as a bully on the team or the instigator. I just love to instigate any little thing like, "You gonna to talk to him like that?" I find it funny. I just like to keep the team loose. But as far as my personality, if I don't know you, I'm not going to talk to you. A lot of people think I'm shy. Just because I don't really talk to a lot of people. So if I was on a reality show, people would be like, "Where's Keaton at? I haven't seen him in a couple days." I'd be the one that's always gone, quiet. It all depends on where you catch me at.
Any weird dreams lately? Appropriate ones? (laughs) Nah, I don't think so. I've been having a lot of dreams about the season and how it can turn out, the good and the bad toward it.
So you have dreams of holding the championship trophy? For some reason, I have dreams about like hitting the game winning shot to win the championship, like the regular season, because we haven't had one of those in a long time. Also, I had a dream about us being in the tournament and I don't know why, but it was like the biggest crowd ever. It was like 200,000, something ridiculous, at a tournament game. I remember when I walked out there, it was like if you've ever seen the move "Rudy," you've never seen nothing like that. I remember running back to getting the locker room and getting a camera – when we were supposed to be doing layup drills – and they showed me on ESPN doing that.
What's your ideal job? I think my ideal job would be basketball. But I have this notebook where I write down all my ideas as far as like a business aspect because I want to be an entrepreneur, so seeing those thoughts and ideas come to reality and working for myself.
I'm assuming you haven't copyrighted these things yet, but can you tell one little example? Nah. (laughs) It's not like I have a vision to change the world. It's just like a certain product, something like another application for an iPhone that'd be great for other people. Something simple like that. Whenever I get out of here, that's when I'll start putting my focus on that.
What's your motivation in life? My family. I'm a very family-oriented person. Seeing how hard my dad works for me to have a better life. My mom (Celia) and dad are working. My brother at the same time. My family is really close. My biggest dream of anything as far as making the NBA, I want to retire my parents. That's my biggest dream and goal in life is to retire my parents and make sure my brother is OK for his future.
What does your brother do? He works for the city of Orlando. I wouldn't want him to work all the time. Growing up, he was doing his own thing when I was coming into high school. Him (being) at my side all the time, I think that'd be even better. Just me and him hanging out all the time. If I'm playing basketball, he travels with me every game. Just like LeBron does with his two friends. I think that's like the best thing ever.
So is your brother James Junior? He's not a junior. My dad doesn't have a middle name, and he does. On the birth certificate, he's not a junior. But people call him a junior. If you call him "James," both of them look.
They're all still in Florida? Yeah, everyone is still in Florida. Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, all originally from the South.
So how often do you see your family? If they don't come to a game, if I'm lucky, twice a year. They are going to try to make it to the Alabama game because that's about 12, 14 hours away from us. A lot of family is in Atlanta, and that's only two hours away from Tuscaloosa. But they're definitely coming to senior night. My brother might be coming to the West Virginia game on New Year's Day.
So are you talking to your family weekly or what? I try to talk to them every day. I think I use my teammates as more of a family-type thing. My mom and dad, I try to talk to them every day. My mom almost makes sure I talk to her every day. "How are you doing?" She stays on top of me. "How's school? Are you getting an 'A' in this class? Will you make the honor roll?" My mom is old school, so she still thinks I get a report card. I'm like, "Mom, it comes on the computer." I talk to my brother every day, see how life is going. He asks me about basketball, how's my health. At the same time, I branch out to my uncles, my grandma. I haven't seen her in maybe two or so years. So I just try to stay in contact with them.