Q&A with Blackman girls basketball coach Jennifer Grandstaff


The Blackman girls’ basketball team started their season 2021 season on November 20. They have started the season 7-0. 

We sat down with their head coach Jennifer Grandstaff and asked her a few questions about how she felt about the basketball team and upcoming season.   

How has your team changed this year? 

Grandstaff- You know we do have some returning players coming back, but we’re fairly young in a lot of positions. We graduated with some top-notch players. Yeah, we did, we lost a lot. 

What is the key thing you teach your players to do, both on and off of the court? 

Grandstaff– I think the biggest thing we stress in our program is character, on the floor and off the floor. I think if you have good character you will succeed in life and have a chance to be successful on the court as well. We stress character, do the right thing, know right from wrong. Do the right thing while in practice, be the best you can be, wherever you may be. 

What do you do to prepare your younger players to be better leaders? 

Grandstaff- I think leadership is something that is hard to teach, and we talk about it a lot, individuality, and as a group. Just about being how to be positive role models, be encouraging, be the coach on the floor. Leaders lead in different ways. Some lead by example, some lead vocally. We just try to stress, just be a positive person that the kids want to follow. I think leadership is tough for kids right now, and how to figure how to be a leader. 

How do you think the team is living up to last year’s team? 

Grandstaff- I think they feel the pressure. I talked to them a little bit the other day about where we’re a stop on everybody’s schedule. You know everybody would love to play Blackman and have a chance to beat Blackman, but what I try to stress to our kids is that we aren’t the same team we were last year. We lost a lot, we lost about 80% of our offensive production. We’re just trying to find ourselves right now, and you know we want to be competitive, and these kids want to be competitive, they are just built that way. We just have to make sure we take steps in the right direction every day and to continue to grow and climb and get better and to be the best team that we can be. We know they feel the pressure, but its good pressure. 

What is your greatest strength as a team is? 

Grandstaff- I think we’re growing as a team and I think with a young team like this and with the leadership we did graduate, it’s hard to replace some of those young ladies that graduated. They were amazing leaders. Our kids are willing to grow and trust the process, and they’re open to it. I think that if you have a team that allows those things, and they trust the process. Then I think we have a chance to be successful. I think we are in a pretty good place right now in terms of growth. 

 What do you think a good factor is to keep them growing? 

Grandstaff- We challenge them every day in practice. Obviously, we love to see some success, I think that really keeps the kids hungry and eager. I think we really try to make practices competitive with our players, make sure we are on the same page, and to keep the lines of communication open. They know what our expectations are and we try to identify them to them 

What is your favorite memory from last year’s team? 

Grandstaff- Gosh… my favorite memory… well obviously, just coming together as a unit, as a group, and experience the amount of success we had as a team, and that’s a special memory, to make it to the state tournament, to go in there and play three competitive games and win the whole thing. For me once in a lifetime experience, so that obviously ranks up in one of the best experiences as a coach.