Grant Ebright of the Class of 2001 played an instrumental role in achieving arguably the greatest single-season turnaround in Linfield men’s basketball history. The Wildcats’ only two-time Northwest Conference Player of the Year and a legitimate All-America contender, Ebright led the team in scoring each of his final three seasons as the club posted a 57-21 win-loss record.
As a rookie, he averaged a modest 8.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.7 steals for a Linfield team that finished eighth of 10 teams in the league at 7-17 overall, 5-13 against NWC foes. It marked a low point for a proud program that had never finished worse than seventh in the conference standings.
The Wildcats responded in full force the next season, nearly tripling their winning percentage to claim the program’s first conference championship in 21 years. Linfield went 20-5, including 14-4 in the NWC, producing the second-highest winning percentage in school history.
Even while playing in a unique system that truly relied on a total team effort, Ebright was the obvious star. He led the Wildcats in scoring at 14.4 points per game while also contributing 5.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals. At season’s end, he was named the NWC Player of the Year, the first of two such honors for his career.
Ebright again averaged 14.4 points as a junior, but upped his numbers in three other categories, recording 6.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 steals per night. Despite missing nine games in the heart of the season due to injury, Ebright’s play was impressive enough to land on the all-conference first team.
As a senior, Ebright led the ‘Cats to their second conference title in three years and first-ever NCAA playoff appearance. Linfield’s leading scorer and rebounder and a preseason All-American, Ebright posted career highs in points (15.7), rebounds (6.7) assists (4.0) and steals (1.7) en route to garnering NWC Player of the Year honors for a second time. He was also recognized as the Linfield Male Athlete of the Year, an honor determined by a vote of the entire Linfield coaching staff.
His former head coach, Larry Doty, recalled Ebright being a fierce competitor, a sharp contrast to his mild off-court demeanor. Another one of Ebright’s intangibles, humility, helped the ‘Cats excel under a system unheard of, in which the young men in uniform controlled their own playing time.
“He always gave credit to his teammates,” Doty said, “but without question, he was our best player.”
Ebright boasts career averages of 13.1 points, 2.8 assists, 1.2 steals and a 1.2 assist-to-turnover ratio. He remains the school record holder in the 3-point field goals made (142) and also ranks sixth all-time in steals (114) and ninth in assists (256). His 84 career starts rank second-most in program history, and he is the only Wildcat to have twice received NWC Player of the Year honors.
Ebright graduated from Linfield in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in finance. After playing one year professionally in Germany, he moved back to the Northwest. Living in Portland, he currently works as the VP of Operations at Criterion Brock, which supplies flooring for multi-family housing. Ebright and his wife, fellow Linfield alum Phoebe (Hostick), have a 2½-year-old son, Owen, and are expecting a daughter, due in January.