His skills on the basketball court have been obvious for a long time.
Jasper Grassa has been a notch above almost all opposing backcourtmen from elementary school on.
By the time he began his high school career at Lynn Classical three seasons ago, Grassa’s potential to be a star player had been established and the goal that he could one day play at the next level had been set.
The now 5-foot-11-inch senior added the strength that he felt he needed to improve his game, and in each of his seasons he bolstered his stature as one of the Northeastern Conference’s most exciting players – a consistent, double-digit scorer and assists man.
And now he’s earned the recognition that his hard work merited: in a brief ceremony inside Principal Gene Constantino’s office Monday afternoon, Jasper Grassa made it official that he will be attending Bentley University in Waltham as a member of the Class of 2014.
The union of high school basketball standout and the preeminent Division 2 program in New England appears to be a good fit. While Division 1 schools UNH and Bryant University (along with Adelphi and UMass/Lowell) had corresponded with him, Jasper Grassa liked all that Bentley had to offer: its strong academics and business programs, its state-of-the-art facilities, and its location.
“Bentley showed a lot of interest from the outset of the process and I liked the proximity of the school to Lynn,” said Grassa. “I felt this would be the best fit for my abilities.”
Tom and Lisa Grassa joined their son at yesterday’s signing. It was fitting that his father was sitting next to him because Tom Grassa was not only the proud, beaming dad, but he has been his son’s basketball mentor from the very beginning.
“I give my father almost all the credit,” said Jasper. “He’s taught me the game and he helped me grow to love the game of basketball. I wouldn’t be where I am without his constant support and encouragement. He’s a great coach who puts the team first, not individual accomplishments.”
Jasper Grassa was a prolific scorer during his Pickering School days, but he’s developed the total basketball package under his father Tom’s tutelage in the Rams’ successful program.
“I knew I needed to improve my body strength and getting to the basket,” said Grassa. “I felt I could shoot the ball, but getting to the basketball wasn’t nearly as good as it should have been.”
Grassa, who will be a team captain this season, hasn’t been a basketball specialist at Classical. He’s played four years of varsity football for the Rams and he’s been impressive at wide receiver.
Grassa sees the state championship banners on the Classical gymnasium wall that his father helped produce as a coach. He’s on track to become a 1,000-point career scorer this winter.
But he’s not concerned with the point milestone, but rather going out with a flurry in the State Tournament. Classical will compete in Division 2 this season.
“I feel we could all the way,” said Grassa. “I’m confident we can make a big run in the post-season.”
Constantino, a former girls basketball coach at Classical, understood the significance of Monday’s momentous occasion.
“I’m very proud of Jasper,” said Constantino. “He’s been a great school citizen all four years at Classical. I’ve seen personally how hard he works and I’m very happy for the success that he’s had at our school. He’s a great role model for our school and I know he’s going to do very well in college.”