Grinde earns starting post, steals leader at Sioux Falls

Chase Grinde, University of Sioux Falls basketball
S. Lee Epps

After receiving an injury redshirt during his true freshman year (2017-18), Chase Grinde was a basketball redshirt freshman last winter (2018-19) for the NCAA Division II University of Sioux Falls. 

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard/forward led the Cougars in steals, tied for second in assists (2.0 apg) and was the team's third leading scorer (7.2 ppg) and rebounder (4.9 rpg). He had more assists than turnovers and hit over half (51%) of his shots from the field, including 32.4 percent from 3-point range.

Grinde played in all 30 games for USF, which went 19-11, including a 13-9 conference record. 

"Chase had a very good freshmen year for us last year," said head coach Chris Johnson. "He took over a starting position after Christmas and really played well."

Grinde said it was great to get back into the swing of things after rehabilitating the injury. He felt he was playing well, but he was playing behind a "great all-around senior." 

Then Grinde had a break-out game versus Minnesota State Mankato - 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists. He said, "My confidence really grew" after that performance, which vaulted him into the starting the lineup for the final two-thirds of the season. 

Grinde said he was not the go-to guy, but he felt he "did pretty well" as a role guy - rebounding and playing defense. Six times, he collected at least eight rebounds, twice being the team's leading rebounder. Playing close to home at Winona State, he tossed in a career-high 22 points along with a team-high nine rebounds

His role will be even more significant with four seniors (two all-conference) having graduated from a seven-to-eight player rotation.

"We are hopeful after another summer of development that he can take another big step for us this year," said Johnson. " He is a very important piece of our team."

But unlike high school, there are new players at the school every year - incoming freshmen, junior college players and transfers. 

Grinde said it requires a "different level of focus" (than high school) with new talented players entering the program each year. He has been impressed thus far by the newcomers and is excited to see how the identity of the team progresses without the lost seniors.

He said the Cougars, with the significant graduation losses, will not be the conference favorite. But with the mix of new and returning players, he foresees the team as a dark horse this winter.

He chose to remain in Sioux Falls this summer, employed full-time as a camp counselor along with his off-season basketball workouts. The coaches are not permitted to work with the athletes during the summer

Fall classes begin Aug. 26 with formal basketball practices on October 15. For basketball, Grinde is a redshirt sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining. Academically a junior, he is majoring in exercise science with minors in psychology and business.

 The typical school day starts with classes, maybe a couple of hours rest, basketball practice, weightlifting and homework until bedtime, and then it begins again.

Grinde says he enjoys college life as he takes advantage of his extended basketball career.

The son of Wade and Sarah Grinde was the Spring Grove 2017 Male Athlete of the Year, senior class president and National Honor Society member, who was All-Statetwice in basketball and once in football. 

Grinde was twice the Lion MVPin football and the only player to be the Spring Grove basketball MVPfour times and the only three-time Conference Player of the Year

He broke six Spring Grove school records and still is the career basketball scoring and steals leader and holds the football record for interceptions.