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The Midwest and the Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies have drafted what they know time and time again. It continues with the selection of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jevon Carter.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies-Press Conference Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Grit and Grind isn’t just a saying. It’s not something that people use when describing a lot of things, but one thing it does describe is obviously the Memphis Grizzlies. Another is the Midwest itself.

Being from the Midwest and living in the region my entire life, it’s something that you’re born with. We take pride in what we do and it shows in our work. I’ve loved basketball since I was little. Both of my grandfathers were high school basketball coaches. Basketball is more than just about putting a ball in a metal circle with some net hanging from it.

It’s about closing out a defender from a corner trey. It’s about diving for a loose ball when you know you’ll end up covered in popcorn and probably get a bruise from some lady’s ring in the front row.

It’s about not giving up when it gets hard.

The Grizzlies have made that their motto and I don’t see that changing anytime soon with the drafting of Jevon Carter and Jaren Jackson Jr.

Carter basically graduated with a doctorate in defense from West Virginia and learned from one of the master’s in Bob Huggins. In the Mountaineers first round NCAA Tournament game, Carter shut down fellow Murray State Racer Jonathan Stark. Stark was held to nine points on 1-of-12 shooting and an abysmal 1-of-10 from beyond the arc. For what it’s worth, Stark averaged 21 points per game and shot nearly 40 percent from three, but I digress.

The point is Carter fits the mold.

Carter is from Maywood, Illinois, and while it may be Chicagoland, it’s still the Midwest. Plus, his family ties also connect to Memphis through his mother, so that’s even more icing on the gritty, grindy cake.

Then there’s Jaren Jackson Jr. Jackson also played for a legend in Tom Izzo. To the outside eye, his 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds may not look appealing, but it’s what Jackson does when the ball isn’t in his hands that made Memphis take him with their first round pick. Per 40 minutes, Jackson averaged a double-double at 20 points and 10 boards per contest.

Then in Summer League, Jackson made eight three’s in his first game on the Memphis roster. While I don’t think we can expect that every game or multiple games in a week, Jackson will be a dominant force in the paint with his 6-11 frame. He has the ability to not only block shots, but alter them as well.

Jackson hails from Carmel, Indiana, which just so happens to be only an hour down the road from Marion, Indiana. Why would anyone reading this blog care about Marion, Indiana?

Some guy name Zach Randolph is from there.

Carmel is also 30 minutes from Indianapolis. Again….why would anyone care?

Some guy name Mike Conley grew up in Indianapolis.

The Memphis Grizzlies have a type, but beyond basketball IQ and defense they draft and pursue what they know. Often, that “type” brings them back to the flyover states of our country, where the work is tough but the people are tougher.

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