By Cary Shuman
Jasper Grassa enters his first season as the head coach of the Lynn Classical boys basketball team with high hopes.
“The sky’s the limit for this team,” said Grassa, who had 85 players tryout for the varsity, junior varsity, and freshman teams.
Grassa is succeeding his father, Tom, who had more than 400 career victories and won two state titles. His father, will be an assistant coach, along with his brother, Nick, a Classical and Salem State standout, and longtime assistant Ken Turner.
“It feels good to be the head coach,” said Grassa, who is also teacher computer science at Classical “This is something I’ve wanted to do and it’s exciting to get going.”
Grassa was asked what he learned from his father, who coached him for four seasons at Classical. He was also an assistant coach for the past three seasons.
“I learned toughness and not just physical toughness, but mental toughness as well,” said Grassa.
Jasper averaged 23 points a game in his senior year and his name is prominent on the 1,000-point banner in the Classical gym. He went on to play at Bentley where he surpassed the 1,000-point milestone and set the school record for most three pointers made.
“My [Classical] players can shoot the three – these guys will get the green light,” he said.
Jasper understands that he is inheriting a very good basketball team that lost to eventual state champion Brighton in last year’s State Tournament. He is not holding back on the high expectations.
“As long as they’re playing the right way – moving the ball, playing together, working hard on defense – I think we have a real shot at doing very this season,” said Jasper.
Classical returns four starters, Edwin Solis, Erick Solis, Dyrrell Rucker, and Jaylen Johnson.
He was pleased with the number of players participated in tryouts.
“Basketball is big in Lynn,” said Jasper. “We’re trying to bring the program to the next level.”
Could he take Classical to a Division 1 title in his first year?
“We’d love to win a state title,” said Jasper. “But the most important thing is getting these kids ready for college and doing everything I can to help them mature and move on and be successful in life.