Hard Work Rewarded
Kersey moves from management to team member at UVA
March 5, 2019
From Albemarle basketball work horse, to University of Virginia basketball manager, to the basketball player everyone cheers for, Grant Kersey has done it all.
Kersey (‘16), a third year at the University of Virginia, has always loved the game of basketball. After playing for two years on the AHS varsity squad, he couldn’t give it up and decided to be a manager for the UVA team.
“Having the opportunity to be around the game at such a high level was too hard to pass up,” Kersey said.
Being a manager was a big time commitment to Kersey as he spent around 25-30 hours a week working. Kersey dreamed of playing on the team, but the opportunity never arose.
“I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew it was possible, and, if I worked hard enough, maybe I would be fortunate enough for it to work out. I never thought it would work out this way.”
On Nov. 5, head coach Tony Bennett acknowledged Kersey for all his hard work and dedication towards the program with news that he would be suiting up for home games this season.
“I was trying to play it cool, but in my head I was freaking out a little but because it was a dream come true for me,” Kersey said. “It was something I always wanted to happen and it was surreal that it was actually coming true.”
Putting on his number 13 jersey was “the coolest feeling ever. That was something I had always wanted to feel just growing up as a kid going to games and everything. It was really surreal; it felt like a dream,” Kersey said.
The number 13 is more than just a jersey number to Kersey.
“That was my dad’s number when he was a kid growing up, I wanted to be his number,” Kersey said.
Kersey not only plays at home games, but has started to play at away games, proving that, with hard work and dedication, you can achieve any goal.
Kersey attributes his work ethic to how he was raised. “I’ve always been determined and worked hard.”
Albemarle also gave Kersey the foundation and skills that he would carry over to college to make him more successful.
“Time management I would say is a big one, just knowing when to get your work done and when you have free time, and knowing when you have to be ready for practice and go to class,” Kersey said.
The Albemarle alum hasn’t seen much playing time, but Kersey has shown he is a clutch player. Kersey gave UVA its first 100 point game in the program’s history.
“Before we went in, Ty Jerome was on the bench and he looked at us and was like, ‘You guys got to get 100.’ So I said, ‘Yeah we have to’ because Coach Bennett had never had 100 so we wanted to try and get it for him.
I caught the ball and then I threw it out to Austin, then I heard one of the coaches yell at him to shoot it, so I knew it was ok if we shot it that late in the game, even if the shot clock was off. When the ball bounced out to me, I was like, ‘Oh, I can just get a rebound’ and then it just happened to bounce out there. I might as well just try and shoot it and see what happens.
“The crowd’s reaction and getting 100 for the first time for Coach Bennett and just being a part of history for such a good program; it just didn’t feel real,” he said.
Kersey’s advice for current Patriots is to stick to your work ethic. “Sometimes you’re working hard and nobody’s seeing it, or you don’t know what’s going to happen. It will all work out in the end.”
Coach Greg Maynard has always impressed with Kersy’s persistence to be better at basketball.
“He kept plugging away, kept practicing, keep getting better and better, and he finally grew a few inches, and really worked hard on his shot,” said Maynard.
Not only has Kersey represented Albemarle High School but, Tony Bennett said Kersey has embraced his roles and has really served UVA.
Once a Patriot Always a Patriot lives inside this Albemarle alumni to this day.
“It means the world, I couldn’t imagine high school anywhere else so that’s something I’ll carry forever, I’ll always be a patriot for sure,” Kersey said.