Desmond Bane is a great basketball player. This is unquestioned truth, born out over four years of a collegiate career that left him with a ton of honors and awards and ended in him hearing his name called in the first round of Wednesday’s NBA Draft.
But those that have spent time with him, on or off the court, will tell you that as a good as a player he is, he’s an even better person.
So, for those of you that find yourself in Memphis, TN, we want to give you a little insight into the person that you’re getting in the man they call Bane, and what you can expect him to contribute to the Grind City community.
Desmond’s pre-draft focus was on his hometown of Richmond, Indiana, where he was raised by his maternal great-grandmother Fabbie and great-grandfather Bob. Though it could have been seen as a negative, Bane never thought that way, telling The Athletic “It was one of the best things that ever happened for me, being raised by my grandparents.” Bane calls his family “blue collar”; Bob was a military man and both worked in factories most of their lives. “[They] worked for everything they had. Just grinders really.”
It’s almost like it was meant to be. #gritandgrind
Though his numbers were flashy, Bane’s game is much more than that; sure, there are the pull up jumpers from well beyond the NBA three-point line and the filthy step backs in the eye of a defender, like this crossover step back that helped take down #2 Baylor last year:
Desmond Bane just shook the ESPN broadcast along with Gillespie pic.twitter.com/jxMW7VaoZM— Sports Analytics 24/7 (@SA247LLC) February 29, 2020
... but there is so much more. He’s a great defender — despite his “short arms” — and an exceptional rebounder for his position, landing in the top ten of all Big 12 players in that category last season. He dives on the floor for loose balls, he plays excellent weak side and help defense, and he never gives up on a play. He might not have as many chase down blocks as LeBron, but he has a couple impressive ones on his resume, and he is as cool as a cucumber in the biggest of moments, like when he drained three free throws in the waning moments of a Big 12 Tournament game against Kansas, locking in TCU’s first ever win over a #1 ranked team.
I can promise you, you’re going to love watching Desmond Bane play. And he couldn’t be in a better situation to succeed.
But, as we said earlier, it’s about so much more than what he can do between the baselines — he’s a heck of a person off of the court and vows to get involved in his new community while continuing to support his hometown. “I’ve already gotten started,” Bane said when asked about what kind of charitable involvement her plans to pursue. “I recently released a t-shirt and held a raffle with proceeds going to the Richmond YMCA, a place dear to me. I plan on donating money to lots of little things and spreading awareness on some of the issues things going on in this country and the world. NBA players have a platform different than anyone else; whatever needs to be changed, I hope I can help shed some light on and being a change in my community.” Desmond paid close attention to what was happening in and around the NBA Bubble this summer, and was impressed with the messaging of the league and its players. “I think it’s great for the NBA to be so involved and vocal. The country as a whole, we need to come together, see each other as one.” He calls the league’s involvement in social justice issues “a great step forward. I know a lot of people didn’t necessarily like the motives, but it’s great that the NBA has that confidence and courage to go out on that limb for young people who look up to professional athletes.”
Bane’s blue collar attitude and work ethic obviously fit in well with the culture of the Grizzlies, and his ability to run the floor and spread the floor makes him a perfect complement to point guard Ja Morant. As a triplicate with Morant and forward Jaren Jackson, Bane is tailor-made to slide right in this lineup, on both ends of the floor.
And you can bet he will immediately ingrain himself to the community, where he will have equally as big an impact.
You’re going to love getting to know Desmond Bane, Memphis. I promise.