Knicks rookie Jerian Grant knows the Washington area well. He grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, as one of four boys in a talented basketball family.
His father Harvey Grant played in the NBA, while his uncle Horace Grant was an All-Star who won four rings over the course of a successful career with the Bulls and Lakers.
Grant's younger brother Jerami is currently a member of the 76ers. All four brothers played high school basketball at DeMatha Catholic High School.
When the Knicks' schedule brought Grant back to D.C. for the Wizards' home opener, his family and friends wouldn't miss it. Grant's mother, father, uncle and several friends turned out to see him play at the Verizon Center.
The rookie guard contributed 7 points, 2 rebounds and 3 steals in 21 minutes of playing time -- the same as starting point guard Jose Calderon. It was the second 3-steal night of his young career.
When asked after the game about his substantial minutes, Grant was thankful. "It’s great," he said. "My teammates and coaches have a lot of confidence in me and it’s really helped me out."
Thankful, but not surprised. For Grant, playing in the NBA was the next step in a logical progression from DeMatha to Notre Dame and onward.
Did he expect to make this kind of contribution so early? "Yeah for sure, just being able to play at the highest level and be effective and help a team win games," he said.
And while Grant could become a big part of New York's future, he took the opportunity to talk about the force driving them now: Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony put up 37 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in the Knicks 117-110 win over the Wizards.
"It’s like [Anthony] was when we were growing up watching him play with the Nuggets," Grant said. "You know, it's just what he does."
As for the Wizards, he admitted to rooting for them as a kid, but these days prefers watching good basketball games over any one team.
If the beginning of the season is any indication, Grant has a long season of good games ahead in the wide-open Eastern Conference.
"I think [the East] is definitely getting a lot more competitive," he said. "Obviously, I think at the top you have Cleveland, but after that there are a lot of teams that can be up there and I think [the Knicks] are building something."
Building something with young talent from the DMV, it seems.