Dec. 21, 2010
DeKALB, Ill. - Less than 30 hours after returning from the Northern Illinois football team's 40-17 victory over Fresno State in the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl on Sunday morning, Huskie quarterback DeMarcus Grady was hard at work at practice on Monday. Basketball practice, that is.
Grady, a 6-1, 203-pound junior for the NIU football team who was an honorable mention all-state basketball player in Michigan during his prep days at East Grand Rapids, will join the Northern Illinois basketball team for the remainder of the 2010-11 season, head coach Ricardo Patton announced on Tuesday.
Patton said one of the biggest assets Grady brings to the Huskie basketball team is a winning attitude, formed during Northern Illinois' 11-3 football season that saw NIU win nine games in a row en route to the Mid-American Conference West Division title.
"DeMarcus brings a great attitude and a lot of experience to the program," Patton said. "He knows what it takes for a team to become a winner. He has been on a team that went from 2-10 to 7-6 and this year 11-3.
He has to work himself into basketball shape; we'll know more about what he can bring on the court as we get into the conference season."
Grady, often seen in the stands at NIU's home basketball games over the past three years, believes he will successfully make the transition into "basketball shape."
"I did it [played both sports] in high school," Grady said. "The endurance is different, but I know what it takes to get ready. I've been working out a little bit already for the last couple of weeks. I think I'll be in pretty good basketball shape in a week or so."
Grady will travel with the Huskies to Southern Illinois on Tuesday and will be with the team for Wednesday's game versus the Salukis. He was a second team all-area and first team all-conference choice in basketball as a senior and helped East Grand Rapids to the state finals in 2006. He said that basketball has never been far out of his mind even as he won the Northern Illinois' starting quarterback job heading into the 2010 season.
"[Playing basketball] was something I thought about even as a freshman," Grady said. "It's always something that has stayed in my mind. I talked to Coach Doeren, I talked to Coach Tuke [Tom Matukewicz] and they gave their approval and said to give it a try. I think there are some things I can bring from football as far as the success we had this year and how we got where we did, that can help the [basketball] team."
Doeren said Grady will return to the Huskie football team to prepare for his senior campaign following the basketball season.
"I am extremely excited for DeMarcus to have an opportunity to follow his dream of playing basketball and football," Doeren said. "He has done everything that has been asked of him during his time at NIU academically, athletically and socially. Once the basketball season ends, he will return to football, and I look forward to coaching him on his return."
Grady started the 2010 football season opener versus Iowa State and appeared in four games at quarterback as a junior. He scored three rushing touchdowns on the year, including on runs of 61 and 30 yards versus Eastern Michigan. He has played in 19 games at quarterback for the Huskies over the last three seasons and accounted for 12 touchdowns and 1,174 yards of total offense.
The Huskie men's basketball team plays road games at Southern Illinois (Dec. 22) and Missouri (Dec. 27) before Utah Valley State visits the NIU Convocation Center for a 1 p.m. contest on Friday, Dec. 31.
-- NIU -