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Ben Grandle won a state basketball championship at Country Christian and started all four years at Multnomah

COURTESY PHOTO - Ben Grandle went on a mission trip to the Phillipines this summer.

After starting 120 games for Multnomah University's men's basketball team over the last four years, Ben Grandle graduated at the end of April.

But the Mulino native and Country Christian alum is not leaving Multnomah. Grandle was recently hired as the school's sports information director.

Grandle said one of the tasks he is most excited about is writing game summaries.

"I know what it feels like to be a player and looking forward to that," Grandle said. "I want to bring that same sense of accomplishment and pride to other Multnomah athletes that I felt. I want other athletes at Multnomah to be proud of their university and represented well, and when they're playing great the word needs to get out, so people know."

Landing the new job wrapped up a busy summer for Grandle, who also went on three trips out of the country to Taiwan, the Philippines and Colombia. Grandle was part of Multnomah groups that played games, taught clinics at local schools, fed the hungry and shared the Bible.

After leading Country Christian to a 29-1 record and the 2015 Class 1A state championship his senior year, Grandle joined Multnomah as the Lions moved up to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Multnomah played a completely different style than what Grandle was used to at Country Christian.

"I loved playing high school basketball at Country Christian, but the style we played was inside out, and we liked to feed our big guys and work the clock," Grandle said. "I wouldn't trade it for anything, but going to Multnomah was 100 percent a compete flip of style of play, up tempo, shoot a lot of 3s."

Grandle said Multnomah head coach Curt Bickley had to yell at him to shoot more.

"From the moment he saw I could shoot, he wanted to give me the green light and let me make the most of my potential, so I was really intrigued by that because that was something I hadn't had before," Grandle said.

COURTESY PHOTO - Ben Grandle dunks the basketball during his senior season at Multnomah University.

Multnomah went 7-23 in its first NAIA season, but Grandle started every game as a freshman and made two free throws in the final seconds to defeat Evergreen State 92-91 to claim the program's second ever Cascade Collegiate Conference win.

"It was quite the opportunity and experience and I was not expecting that from day one," Grandle said. "Going forward I knew that I had three more years and I knew we were building something. It's just really exciting to be a part of all that."

The Lions again finished 7-23 during the 2015-16 season.

"We knew going in that the first two years was all about building a culture and building a play style and trying to find players that fit that play style," Grandle said.

After a 9-21 season, Multnomah went 15-15 during Grandle's final season. Teammate Justin Martin scored 71 points in a 126-124 victory over Warner Pacific on Dec. 4.

"He brought a lot of attention to our school and a lot of publicity," Grandle said.

The Lions swept Eastern Oregon and played competitively at home against two of the top teams in the nation, falling to Oregon Tech by six points and College of Idaho by 11.

"It was a huge step and even the games that we lost, a lot of them were really close, too," Grandle said. "There's still a little bit of wishing you could've done more. I think there's always that with any player."

Grandle finished his career with 399 made 3-pointers, the most in Multnomah's history, and 1,606 total points.

"Basketball has been a passion of mine ever since I was old enough to pick up a basketball," Grandle said. "It's weird playing it all throughout high school, loving it, all throughout college, loving it, and now it's gone. You finally hit that point where you can't look forward to basketball next year."

Grandle's first day as Multnomah's sports information director was Thursday, Aug. 8.

"There's a lot to learn but I'm passionate about sports and I love the culture at Multomah," Grandle said. "I know I'm a culture fit there. I'm excited."

Derek Wiley
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