By Rob Kiser
When Steve Grasso was hired as the Piqua boys basketball varsity coach in late May, he knew he had a lot of work to do in a short time.
And Grasso is happy with what he has seen this summer.
Grasso was a long-time Fairmont assistant, before coaching Yellow Springs for three seasons.
The Bulldogs improved each season under Grasso, advancing to the D-IV regional finals in his final season — after upsetting defending state champion Tri-Village.
Last year he served as an assistant coach for Graham, under his brother Julian Grasso.
Grasso passed out the 4 Pillars of Piqua Hoop Culture — Hard Work, Enthusiasm, Trust and Competitive Spirit in his first meeting with the players.
“I can’t wait to get in the gym and start working on basketball,” he said. “I am excited. We are going to hit the ground running.”
The Indians did exactly that.
They played in the Fairmont summer league again.
“There was a lot of tough competition there,” Grasso said. “A a lot of GWOC schools. Even though we didn’t win a lot of games, we didn’t get blown out either. That was encouraging given that we don’t have any set plays on offense yet and haven’t put our defensive philosophy in yet. That, just going out and playing, we could be competitive.”
It was the same with the shootouts Piqua participated in.
“We went to the UD shootout and the Wittenberg shootout,” Grasso said. “There was a lot of great competition there. We had some really good workouts at those shootouts. It was a chance to get to know the kids and see what we had and where we were at.”
Which has been a big part of what this summer is about.
“Coming, I didn’t really know anyone,” Grasso said. “It has been a good chance to get to know the kids and see where we are at. We had some mini workouts when I started where we had the high school kids —including some rising sophomores — and just went out and played.”
It also gave him a chance to see the future of Piqua basketball is at.
“We had some really good youth camps,” he said. “We had a good turnout. We had 30 kids at our elementary camp and another 30 kids at our junior high camp. It was a good chance to get to know the kids.”
And the work has only just begun.
“We have a lot of multi-sport athletes,” Grasso said. “And that is good to see. But, for the ones, that are not in a fall sport, we will start workouts again when school has started. Before you know it, it will be late October and time to start practice. I can’t wait to get started.”
And continue the process of building towards a bright future.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.