He’s ‘Grott’ Game
MICHIGAN CITY — He wears the number 13. He has a sandwich named after him. He is a music aficionado.
Karsen Grott may be the most interesting player on the Marquette Catholic boys basketball team, but until this season, the Blazers senior has been better known for those personal trivia than his hoops.
“This is really the first year I’ve played varsity,” Grott said. “Last year, I really just dressed. It was kind of a weird year. I’d get put in at times and I wasn’t all that confident in myself. I knew this was my last year, so no matter what role I had, I was going to play my hardest, give it my best. It just so happened there was a spot and I took advantage of it.”
He sure has. Grott is averaging 8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game (second on the team) for the sectional champion Blazers, adding a needed physical presence to a largely perimeter-oriented attack.
“At the beginning of the year, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Grott said. “I knew coach (Fred Mooney) trusted in me. The first game of the year, West Side, I knocked down a few shots, and that game really raised my confidence. From that point on, I got confidence in my shot.”
For years, that wasn’t the case. The 6-foot-3 Grott was usually taller than his teammates and competition, so the Queen of All Saints product largely played in the paint.
“I’ve always been a dirty work guy,” he said. “In grade school, I was always the big man down low getting rebounds. I was always a decent rebounder, but I never really had a shot. I could never really hit a 3. In high school, I knew I had to learn to develop a shot, so freshman year, I started to focus on my jump shot. I can hit a mid-range jumper here and there.”
Grott actually leads the team in field goal percentage at 52 and has popped 22 treys at a 39 percent clip.
“It’s been huge to our success,” said Mooney, who called Grott the Blazers’ most improved player. “Karsen is relentless on the glass. What a lot of people don’t know who don’t watch us consistently is Karsen can shoot the ball. He has great mechanics. He’s been huge on the boards and huge at knocking down key shots in key situations in games.”
Part of a large family of Marquette alums who all played golf, Grott toiled on the C team as a freshman and JV the last two years before graduation departures provided him his window of opportunity.
“A lot of guys played AAU, but I didn’t play AAU,” he said. “I just went in the gym and shot a lot almost every day. I go to South Carolina in the summer to visit my dad and I’d go to the gym and shoot.”
Saturday’s sectional championship was arguably his crowning moment as a Blazer as Grott scored 14 points, two off his career best, on 6-of-8 shooting. His 10 rebounds were one off his top game in that category.
“It felt good, the fact that I know I went out and played my hardest,” he said. “There’s no way I was going to lose that game without going out with a fight. My teammates felt the same. We all know we’re tough to beat when we play together.”
As for that lighter side, Grott has the distinction of having a sandwich named after him at Holly’s restaurant, which is run by his grandparents. Karsen’s Crazy Chicken Sandwich features grilled chicken on a pretzel bun with Swiss or provolone cheese, bacon, grilled onions, bleu cheese and tomato.
“I was maybe 5 or 6,” said Grott, who can cook a bit himself. “I think I was in the office and my grandpa said, I have an idea for a sandwich, I’m going to name it after you. I’m not a fan of bleu cheese or tomato, but it’s a decent sandwich.”
Years back, Grott also developed an interest in music. He played the drums for a while before the racket became too much and also took piano lessons. A while back, he bought a record player and collects vinyls.
“They’re making a big comeback,” he said. “I’ve always been a music lover. I have my headphones in every day.”
Grott hopes to translate that passion into a career as an audio engineer. He will attend IU-South Bend initially with plans to head to the Bloomington campus after a year or two.
As for that number, Grott isn’t sure where the interest in 13 originated — possibly for his birthday, which is Jan. 13 — but he has always worn it in basketball.
“I would wear it in baseball if we had it,” he said. “It’s kind of a weird thing. Friday the 13th, the 13th floor, I’ve never really believed in that. It’s my favorite number.”
Will it be lucky for him and the Blazers on Saturday against Andrean in the Class 2A North Judson Regional?
“I’m looking forward to it,” Grott said. “I’ve had it circled on the calendar for a while now. We all knew the game was going to happen. I remembered the game from last year, how we felt. We’re really ready.”
Class 2A North Judson Regional
Marquette Catholic (16-8) vs. Andrean (17-8), 10 a.m.
Westview (24-5) vs. Bluffton (10-14), to follow
Championship, 7 p.m.