SOUTH BEND -- South Bend Riley's boys basketball team has won nine straight games, and sits atop the Nothern Indiana Conference.
The catalyst behind it all -- senior point guard T.J. Grant.
Grant's typical day isn't typical at all. It's a rigorous schedule that requires dedication and discipline.
"Wake up, we've got A.M. shooting, work on our shots," Grant said.
Then it's off to class for a full day of school. And afterwards, a full practice.
"And we have to compete," Grant said, "or we're going to run."
"He is pushing himself, yes, but he is also pushing his teammates," Riley coach Mark Johnson said. "And that's what a good point guard does. They push their teammates. They make their teammates better, and that's the one thing T.J. has done for us."
After practice, it's homework. And that's where Grant really excels. The academic struggles at Riley have been well documented, but Grant wants to reverse that trend. He's trying to be a role model for his peers.
"It gives me the drive to compete in the classroom, not only on the floor," Grant said. "I have to get good grades. We all have to get good grades, as a team, and as a school, because we're representing not only Riley and the South Bend School Corporation, we're representing the whole South Bend city as a whole."
"We've talked to our team for many years that, you will play the same way you behave in the street, and the same way you perform in the classroom," Johnson said. "And if you take shortcuts in the street, where you stay out late, you go to places you know you shouldn't be; academically, if you're a B student and you're happy to get a C-minus, that carries over in your play. And T.J. is a very good example, because he is good and he does make an attempt academically, and that carries over into his play."