Howland graduate has athletic family

Staff report

Penn State volleyball player Nia Grant of Howland, no doubt, gets her height and athleticism from her parents.

The height comes from especially her mother’s side.

“My mom’s side is tall,” Nia said of Stacey (Thomas) Grant, whose brother, 6-foot-8 Irving Thomas, played a season (1990-91) with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Stacey, who played volleyball at Miami-Dade and North Carolina Central, is originally from Miami. Her sister, Tamika, also played in college at Mississippi State.

Nia’s dad, African Grant, played defensively as safety in a couple regular-season games for the Miami Dolphins in 1990 before suffering a knee injury against the New York Jets.

“Good genes,” African Grant said of Nia’s heredity.

African Grant, originally from Englewood, N.J., is the Howland JV volleyball coach.

“I got into coaching because of Nia,” African Grant said. “I was only trying to help her, then I really enjoyed it so I stuck with it.”

African is waiting for Faith Grant, Nia’s younger sister who is a 7th-grader at Howland Middle School, to come through the volleyball system.

Nia’s brother, A.J., is a sophomore basketball player at Howland.

The Grant family lived on Warren’s west side before moving to Howland.

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