Junior point guards Devon Goodman and Kendall Grasela are in the midst of breakout seasons for Penn men’s and women’s basketball, respectively. Goodman is second in scoring for the Quakers, while Grasela is second in assists. Both have started every game for the Red and Blue this season. But to fully understand their breakouts, one has to go back a few years.
Goodman and Grasela both played basketball at Germantown Academy, a prep school in Fort Washington, Pa., less than an hour away from Penn. They were good friends before college, but now their bond has only become stronger.
Their high school teams faced little in terms of obstacles. Goodman’s team won the league championship all four years, going a combined 88-26, while Grasela’s team went 24-3 her senior year as she earned first team All-League and Defensive MVP honors. In college, however, it was a different story.
During their freshman year, Goodman didn’t play more than three minutes in a game until after Christmas, and Grasela didn’t score until February.
“I remember freshman year during winter break, I went in the gym at [Germantown Academy] just to get shots up," Goodman said. "Five minutes later, Kendall walked in to do the same thing. I think we both had that hard work mentality, and I think it’s really showing off this year.”
“I think it’s funny to look back because it was always us two in the gym at GA working out,” Grasela said. “It’s awesome that we had that GA connection, and now we have that Penn connection.”
Through the highs and the lows, they’ve remained confident. Germantown Academy prepared them well for the pressures of college life, both on and off the court.
“[Germantown Academy] was a high pressure school, both athletically and academically. We both had teachers and coaches that demanded a lot from us.” Grasela said.
Point guard is arguably the toughest position to play in basketball. The point guard brings the ball up the court, calls plays, and handles the ball under pressure more often than any other position. It essentially serves as the quarterback of the offense. The pressures of this position might have put a strain on another duo’s relationship, but Grasela thinks it has made theirs even stronger.
“I think [our friendship] has gotten stronger now that we’re in a leadership position and we have that bond we can talk about, both being starting point guards,” Grasela said. “He’s kinda like my brother here. He always looks out for me, since we’ve known each other for so long.”
The two friends will look to continue their success as they enter conference play. No matter what happens, however, they’ll always have a special bond.
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