Greenberg looking forward to third pro season in Israel after solid 2020-21 campaign

Jason Brown
The Leavenworth Times
Shown is Grant Greenberg attempting a layup for Maccabi Carmiel in the Israel-Artzit league during the 2020-21 season. Greenberg was a regular starter and averaged 25 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and two steals a game while shooting over 50% from the field.

The last 15 months of Grant Greenberg's life have been a challenge. The former University of Saint Mary and Leavenworth High School basketball standout wrapped up his second season as a pro in Israel while weathering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The former Spire and Pioneer is regarded as the top college scorer in the state of Kansas with 2,993 career points in four seasons at USM. He averaged 27 points a game during his college career and shot over 50% from the field. He also received multiple first-team All-American honors in college. 

Greenberg's first season in Israel came ahead of the pandemic and the newcomer to Maccabi Ironi Ramat Gan was a regular starter in 19 games while averaging 16.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.2 steals and 53.7% shooting. Then the season was canceled and Greenberg was forced to return home for the summer. He returned to Israel in September of 2020 and joined Maccabi Karmiel but said the season was difficult due to the quarantine protocols. 

"We would play for a month, and then miss two weeks because of COVID," he said, "and then start up and play again. This went on until around March until enough people in the country were vaccinated and we could have a problem-free rest of the season."

Greenberg said the way basketball is played in Europe differs in a lot of ways compared to North America's version and he has even noticed a different attitude from fans. 

"It’s a different style of basketball," he said, "a lot more physical, slow-paced, and more ball movement. Also, fans, in general, are much more passionate than in America and take supporting their teams personally."

Despite the obstacles, Greenberg thrived in 21 games for his new club and put up stats those from Leavenworth have certainly seen before. He nearly averaged a double-double, scoring an average of 25 points per game and grabbing 9.7 rebounds.

Now Greenberg will join his third team in as many seasons as he gears up to compete with Elitzur Yavne in the 2021-22 season. He said he is looking forward to playing professionally another year and will be working under a coach he is familiar with.

"This year, I am playing for a former coach of mine," he said, "and I think we will have the chance to be really good. Mentally and physically, I feel great, so I have been working hard this summer to have an even better season." 

Greenberg's former coach at USM, Troy Brown, said it has been special to watch Greenberg compete after college but isn't surprised. 

"There’s no secret ingredient for his success," Brown said. "He works his tail off at his craft. So many players want to continue to play after college but don’t realize the work it requires. Spend a week with Grant and see if you love it enough to do what’s required to make it."

Even though the stats point to a seamless transition to European basketball, Greenberg said there is a lot to adjust to but he has been able to take in and enjoy a lot of the new cultural experiences available to him. 

Shown is former University of Saint Mary and Leavenworth High School basketball player Grant Greenberg.

"There are challenges both off and on the court, when you play overseas," Greenberg said. "My first year was tough having to adjust to the language barrier, a new culture, and also being so far away from family and friends. On top of that, you have to perform and play well on the court."

"Working hard and having an open mind about it all has helped me throughout my career," he said. "Being able to travel and play the game that I love is a unique experience and something I will never take for granted." 

At just 27-years old, Greenberg is in a position to continue competing for years to come but is still looking toward a future on the bench working as a coach.

"I take it year by year," Greenberg said, "but I would like to play as long as I can and as long as my body allows me to. However, I am currently working on my master’s degree in Health and Physical Education so whenever the ball officially stops bouncing, I would like to get into coaching at the high school or college level."