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No reason to Grieve

Wiry, athletic, determined, crazy.All have been used to describe Eagle Point senior Derek Grieve, and for good reason.

At 6-foot-4, 180 pounds, Grieve doesn't exactly cut an imposing figure out on the court for the Eagles' boys basketball team.

But once the ball is in play, Grieve is as active as any and considerably more effective.

Despite playing in a conference dominated by sturdy, 6-foot-7 posts, Grieve enters tonight's game at Roseburg ranked second in scoring at 19 points per game. He finished fourth last year with a 15.9 scoring average.

For how short he is, he's really good in his post play, says senior teammate Mychal Williams, who ranked fifth last year at 14.9 points per game but has been slowed by nagging injuries and constant attention. He can also move out to the 3-point line and knock those down. He's pretty much an all-around player.

— The fourth descriptor is one you'd have to know Grieve to appreciate.

He's pretty much nuts, adds Williams, who along with Grieve is a third-year starter. He just gets crazy and off-the-wall hyper sometimes. We always make fun of him by saying he has (attention deficit disorder) or something. He handles it well, though. Sometimes he'll join in and just tell us he forgot to take his medicine that day or something. It's pretty funny.

That little bit of levity Grieve provides has been welcome at times for Eagle Point (6-11, 1-5 SOC), which has struggled to put it all together despite high expectations entering the season.

I don't know what it is, but hopefully we can get everything figured out and turned around, says Grieve, 17, who is also a standout baseball player. Hopefully we'll start winning some games and kick a couple teams out of the playoffs and maybe make it back ourselves.

Getting the ball to Grieve more and more certainly would be a place to start, especially since he's taken his game up a notch in Southern Oregon Conference play.

He was shooting 41 percent coming out of the Anderson (Holiday Classic in mid-December) and now he's up to 48 percent, says Eagles coach Keith Williams, the father of Mychal. His shooting has improved tremendously, which is amazing considering what he's facing in the league compared to what we faced in the preseason.

Grieve is also averaging 9.3 rebounds and has five double-doubles to his credit.

In a perfect world, he'd be on the wing for us, says the coach, but since we don't have 6-5 or 6-6 or 6-7 kids, he's got to play inside. All through junior high he was a wing, but he's had to be in the post since he was a freshman.

While some might have balked at such a move, Grieve has taken it in stride and become a quick study. And despite a size disparity, nearly every time he takes the court, he's come to call the paint his home.

It's definitely tough being a post in this league, he says, but I like getting the ball inside. I shoot a lot of hook shots just because their arms are a lot taller than mine, and I've got to shoot over them somehow.

A self-described finesse player, Grieve has been known to mix it up on occasion in the low post. The biggest obstacle thus far has been when teams single him out as a primary threat.

That's the one main thing that's a bummer, he says. When you have a name like me and Mychal, we are getting flagged a little more. When that happens, we've just got to get the ball to the open man and hope they score.

And even though that's been easier said than done thus far, the Eagles aren't done trying to spread their wings.

We're coming around, and I think we'll be ready for the next go-round (in the SOC), says Mychal Williams. I know Derek will be. He's always ready.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail No reason to Grieve"khenry@mailtribune.com.