Grant Weitman grew up in a home where Lute Olson was simply grandpa’s best friend and going to McKale Center to watch basketball was just a normal part of life. Now, some 14 years later, going to McKale Center will be an even bigger part of his life after the Salpointe standout accepted a role as a walk-on for the University of Arizona.
“It was always cool to go watch when I was little and to see the intensity,” Weitman said. “I guess I wondered what it would be like to be a player if I had the chance. To me, those were all just my grandfather’s friends.”
The friendship between Olson and Paul Weitman is legendary and it might have served as a blueprint for how Grant sees his former Salpointe teammates. The Lancers went 30-1 this past winter, claiming the 4A championship along the way. On a team obviously known for Harvard bound Evan Nelson and Pima commit Jordan Gainey, Weitman made a name for himself rather quickly by pouring in almost 100 points in his first five games of the season and he solidified those expectations by averaging 15 in the playoffs including 15 in the final game to hold off Peoria 54-48 in overtime.
“I will always remember the championship and the big games against Catalina Foothills of course,” Weitman added. “I will remember the bond we had and the friendships. Everyone is leaving and going separate ways but these are the guys I hung out with and that will always be special.”
Weitman’s cousin, Luc Rosenblatt, was also a standout for the Lancers who almost single-handedly shot the Lancers to a championship a year before against Mike Bibby and Shadow Mountain by scoring 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting with five 3-pointers finding he mark. In 2018, Rosenblatt poured in 24 points in the state final against Shadow Mountain on 8-for-12 shooting with six made 3-pointers. Rosenblatt always seemed to rise to the occasion and he earned AllSportsTucson.com Student Athlete of the Year recognition before moving on to take up managing duties with the Wildcats.
At 6-foot-3, Weitman was gaining attention by the smaller programs in the country due to his hard-nosed abilities and leadership on the court but when Arizona mentioned the possibility of a walk-on spot, Weitman began to see the possibilities.
“The smaller schools were contacting me and I started thinking about what the best option for me was,” Weitman explained. “I was told if I had a good year the option of being a walk-on was a strong possibility. I like the bigger school atmosphere so this became exciting for me.”
With the world coping with the pandemic, the normal routine of Division I summer workouts, training and eating schedules still up in the air, but Weitman knows what his job will be.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes and do whatever I’m asked,” said Weitman. “I’m fine with that and I’ll be fine with anything. I’m grateful for the chance.”
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019. Contact Andy Morales at email@example.com