GCU player talks about return to the court after nearly dying

Luke Lyddon
7 Min Read

Tyon Grant-Foster endured and persevered through many battles before appearing in the WAC Tournament with No. 1-seeded Grand Canyon.

PHOENIX — College basketball fans may not have realized it, but one of the best stories in the nation was playing out right here in Phoenix as Grand Canyon guard/forward Tyon Grant-Foster made his return to the court nearly two years after collapsing due to cardiac arrest during halftime of a game. 

“Everything that I went through, it gives me more of an edge,” Grant-Foster said. 

That edge has helped Grant-Foster continue fighting and prove his heart is as strong on the court as it is off of it.

“My faith got really strong during those 16 months,” Grant-Foster said. 

But we have to rewind the clock a few years to understand the impact of Grant-Foster’s journey up to this point.

Well before his short (and successful) stint with GCU, Grant-Foster grew up in Kansas City, Kansas and starred at Schlagle High School.  

After high school, Grant-Foster went three-and-a-half hours northeast of his hometown and started his college basketball career at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa, and was named an honorable mention All-American by the NJCAA and the No. 2 junior college transfer recruit. 

He then returned to his home state to play for legendary head coach Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks in the 2020-21 season and ended up playing in 21 games, but only played 14 or more minutes in five of them.  

However, after that season, Grant-Foster decided to enter the transfer portal. He signed with the DePaul Blue Demons. He scored nine points in the first half of his first game with DePaul before collapsing in the locker room.  

He had his heart shocked back into rhythm three times and was taken to the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. 

Grant-Foster ended up spending 10 days in the hospital and had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator inserted in his chest. 

But after that, Grant-Foster assumed the incident was an anomaly until he collapsed once more on a different basketball court back home in a pickup game that he attended with former Kansas teammate and current Denver Nuggets guard Christian Braun. That led to a second heart surgery in spring 2022. 

Grant-Foster then had to put his basketball career on pause. It was one of the most challenging times for the young man, although it was a blessing in disguise as he looks back now.

“I feel I became a better basketball player IQ-wise watching the game a whole lot,” Grant-Foster said. “Being around it and not playing, you learn so much more and see stuff you usually don’t see on the court.”

Grant-Foster ended up spending 16 months on the sidelines before doctors cleared him to play in March 2023. That’s when GCU came calling. 

Grant-Foster took only one recruiting visit after being cleared to play. That was to GCU, and he signed to play with the Lopes in April 2023. 

Signing with GCU also meant that Grant-Foster got the chance to live with his cousin, Phoenix Suns forward Ish Wainright, before Wainright was waived by the Suns and signed with the Portland Trail Blazers in Oct. 2023. 

Wainright returned to the Suns and signed a two-way contract on March 5. 

Since his arrival at GCU, Grant-Foster lit the conference on fire averaging a conference-high 19.4 points per game to go with 5.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.6 steals and being selected as the Western Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year,

Now, after being told he would never be able to play basketball again, the senior is just two wins away from helping his team reach the national stage by winning the WAC Tournament and claiming an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

This is a moment manifested in front of him thanks to his undying spirit, his faith, and his ability to never give up.

“It’s really gratifying at the same time because of everything I’ve been through and now it’s finally here,” Grant-Foster said. “It’s a surreal feeling.”

Grant-Foster and the Lopes are set to face Seattle U in the WAC Semifinals, on Friday at 6 p.m. in Las Vegas. 

Arizona sports 

The city of Phoenix is home to five major professional sports league teams; The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, NBA’s Phoenix Suns, WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks and NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

The Cardinals have made State Farm Stadium in Glendale their home turf and the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix is home to both the Suns and the Mercury. The Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers play at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale. The Coyotes play at Mullett Arena on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Phoenix also has a soccer team with the USL’s Phoenix Rising FC, who play at Phoenix Rising FC Stadium in Phoenix.

The Valley hosts multiple major sporting events on a yearly basis, including college football’s Fiesta Bowl and Guaranteed Rate Bowl; the PGA Tour’s highest-attended event, the WM Phoenix Open; NASCAR events each spring and fall, including Championship Weekend in November; and Cactus League Spring Training for 15 Major League Baseball franchises.

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Luke Lyddon , www.12news.com
KPNX Vivrr Local Feed: sports , 2024-03-16 00:26:16
Categories: march-madness,sports,ncaa,ncaab,college,basketball,local-sports,valley,news,local,arizona,home

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