Patience, Persistence Pays Off For Rhymes, GCU

courtesy: GCU

They say in life, “timing is everything.” No one needs to explain that to junior guard J.J. Rhymes whose arrival to Grand Canyon University took a slight detour through Hutchinson, Kansas before returning to his home state this spring.

“It wasn’t my plan, it was more of God’s plan,” the former Shadow Mountain High star said to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat. “Now I feel like he put me in the right place and the right position at Grand Canyon.”

Rhymes’ skill level between the lines were never in question but his grades were. The 6-foot-4 guard, who comes from a deep family lineage of standout players, self-admittedly slacked off in the classroom before realizing his Division I dream could be shattered without a refocus on academics.

“It was when Grand Canyon offered me,” Rhymes recalled. “It was the summer going into my sophomore year. My junior and senior year I [worked hard] but it just wasn’t enough.”

Enter Hutchinson Community College where the Blue Dragons can ball. Rhymes was named a First-Team All-American performer after averaging a conference-best 19.6 points a game as a sophomore. As a freshman he helped lead “Hutch” to a NJCAA National Championship.

“They were one of the best teams in the country and the conference they were in was one of the most competitive conferences in the country,” Rhymes explained. “As me being a competitive guy, that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to play against the best…they were just real from the jump. It was the best.”

Throughout Rhymes’ journey the Lopes, specifically GCU assistant T.J. Benson, never lost contact with the former All-Arizona player and state champion who ended up choosing the Lopes over Western Athletic Conference rival New Mexico State.

“I knew I was going to come to Grand Canyon just because of the loyalty,” Rhymes said confidently. “T.J. has been recruiting me since my freshman year of high school. He’s always been persistent. You don’t know too many schools and too many coaches who would do that for a kid unless they really, really see something in them and see they can make an [impact] in their program.”

Good things come to those who wait.

For J.J. Rhymes and GCU it was never a question of if, only when the two would be together.

#LopesUp.

 

 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.