Posted On: 03/11/19 9:12 AM

Ty Rankin is off the board. After finishing out his senior season helping Grant win fourth place at the 6A state tournament, the strong 6-foot-2 combo guard was looking forward at going over his college options and taking some campus visits. But one college coach made the effort to come watch Rankin at state and visit with him and his family at his home in Portland and Rankin decided that it was time to shut down his commitment.

At an in-home visit on Saturday night with head coach Maurice Leitzke, Rankin decided to sign with Eastern Arizona. “I just liked what he was talking about and I was glad he took his time to come out here,” Rankin said. “He was saying that he believes his program can get me to where I want to go – he can showcase me and help me move on and possibly be there for only one year.”

“And I just liked how he showed the initiative to come and watch me,” Rankin continued. “He came on Wednesday and then he surprised me at the tournament so I wouldn’t be worried about him (being there).”

Rankin certainly felt the love from the Gila Monsters – so much that he felt comfortable making a commitment having not seen the campus. “I’ve been to Arizona before and I like the area,” Rankin said. “I like the weather and stuff so I think that it would be a good fit for me. There aren’t a lot of distractions there in the desert so all you can do is hoop. Mike James was saying that the only thing you can do there is hoop and that’s how he got so good.”

Mike James, of course, is also a Grant alumnus who went on to play Division I basketball at Lamar and in addition to a short sting in the NBA, has had an extremely successful career playing professional overseas. Rankin also knows current Gila Monsters Amari Hale and Amari Stafford and noted that he’ll get an opportunity to fill in their place as they will be moving on after this season.

Rankin originally noted at the state tournament that he was looking at a number of options including national JCs such as Casper and Central Washington as well as Division II possibilities in Chaminade and Central Washington. But Eastern Arizona made a pitch that he simply couldn’t refuse and while his goal is to still reach the Division I level, he’ll be open to the process once he gets down to Thatcher.

A well-built combo guard with a slick handle and non-stop motor, Rankin noted that he really improved on his game his senior season, from becoming an extremely effective rebounder to seeing the floor better to shooting the ball more consistently from the perimeter. He hopes to continue honing his game at the junior college level, but now that his decision is over, he’s able to reflect back on this past season – and his high school career at Grant.

“It’s not like how we wanted it to turn out, but we still brought something back to the school,” Rankin said of Grant’s fourth place finish. “We were on the same side as Jeff (in the first round) so that was tough, but that’s just how it goes. We tried our best and I’m proud of everybody on the team and I’m proud to play with them, despite our size because we weren’t tall as a team. We did some things that people didn’t think we could do this year and I’m happy I got to do it with this team. To come back after a state championship and still make it to the Chiles Center with three of the starters gone and coming back with almost a new team, we showed that we could play with anybody.”

“It was a fun four years and I got one (championship) ring,” Rankin continued. “I’m happy I got to help bring one since 2008 to Grant High School and pass the torch down to the young guns so they can get one too.”

Rankin currently ranks as the #9 player in the PrepHoops Oregon Class of 2019 rankings.