STrib: Alihan Demir tells of Gophers' overseas connection, Vincent Grier


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Nov 11, 2008
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per Marcus:

Alihan Demir had a connection with the Gophers basketball team before he ever decided to transfer to Minnesota last year to help fill some holes in their frontcourt.

As a senior in high school seven years ago, Demir played for a club team called Milli Piyango in his hometown of Ankara, the capital of Turkey. The star he looked up to was Vincent Grier, who was an All-Big Ten guard and played at the U from 2004-06.

Grier was playing on a professional team for the same club. Demir frequently worked with those players, getting advice from Grier on ways to expand his game.

“We talked every practice [about] just doing the little things,” said Demir, now 24. “He showed me little tricks he does to get to the rim.”

Last summer, the Gophers were desperate for some frontcourt depth to help replace All-Big Ten forward Jordan Murphy. Demir said he received interest from 40 Division I schools when he announced his transfer, but he only visited Kansas State and Minnesota.

Demir, who averaged 14.8 points and 6.4 rebounds as a junior at Drexel last season, liked what the Gophers were selling about filling Murphy’s role. He jumped at the opportunity to come to Minneapolis, but he called his old friend Grier first.

“I remember he messaged me when he was going to transfer,” Grier said. “Told him, ‘Great choice.’ ”

Go Gophers!!
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