By: Tim Andrzejewski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
RiceOwls.com sat down with this year's Men's Basketball Freshman class for a Q&A. The fourth installment features guard Grant Youngkin.
With your family’s history at Rice, was it an easy decision to come to Rice?
“It was difficult at first. With my dad, I had to ponder whether or not it was going to be distracting to have that as part of my history when I was making my decision. Ultimately, I decided that it would be really cool to go to school where my dad went to school; to play where my dad played and be part of the legacy here.”
What’s it like walking into the building that bears your last name (Youngkin Center)?
“I’ve definitely heard about it. People have asked me and have done double-takes, asking me ‘Is that your dad?’ But, I’ve taken it more as it’s a cool thing. I’m proud of it. I don’t advertise it, but it doesn’t distract me from what I’m here to do. It’s just a backdrop. But, it is cool.”
Outside of your family history, what was it about Rice that stood out to you?
“First of all, my mom’s entire family is from Texas, so I’ve spent a lot of time in Texas. Texas was the state I was looking at to go to school in. With the amount of time I’ve spent down here, I really like it. (Rice) has one of the best degrees in the country, so getting to play basketball and getting a great degree drove me here. Also, I really like the city of Houston.”
You’ve been able to practice with the team for a bit. What has been the biggest difference in the college game from high school for you?
“The level of play is faster and quicker. A lot more is expected of you. There is a lot more plays and set that you have to remember. But, the biggest thing is the level of players that are around you. In high school, you playing with good players, but now, you’re playing with some of the best players in the country at the Division I level.”
You are one of seven freshmen on the team. Is it easier going through the transition knowing there are six other guys going through the same thing?
“Definitely. One of the main things that Coach (Mike) Rhoades talked about was the great guys that are on the team and great people that I was going to be around. So when I came here, I had that in the back of my mind. The guys; we’ve really grown close as a family. To have six other guys that have made the same gains that I have; that have gone through the same process that I have, it makes it easier than if I was doing it by myself. So having more of us, which is unique because there usually aren’t seven freshmen on a team, has made a big difference in the steps we’ve taken so far and hopefully in the steps we’ll take in the future.
Has there been a returning player that has helped you out?
“I think all of the upperclassmen really have. A couple that stand out; Connor Cashaw is a great guy and he really treats everyone well. Chad Lott has really helped us all out in the weight room and on the court.”
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
“The best advice I’ve ever received is probably from my dad. He always tells me, especially at this stage of my life, going through college, playing college basketball and going to a hard school (that) there is going to be ups and downs. When there are downs, turn to God and family. Faith is really strong in my family.”
What is your favorite movie?
“I have two actually. One of my favorite movies is Independence Day with Will Smith I watched it when I was a little kid with my best friend and it’s a movie that has stayed with me for a long team. The Dark Knight is probably my No. 1 movie.”
What is your favorite TV show?
“Right now, I’m watching Lost and that is a really good show. I like that a lot. Before Lost I watched Prison Break. I’m just starting to get into TV shows.”
What is your favorite food?
“That’s easy. Thai food is my favorite, specifically penang chicken curry, which is basically chicken in a peanut sauce.”