Former Maize star Caleb Grill addresses dismissal from Iowa State
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Caleb Grill, who was dismissed from the Iowa State basketball team Wednesday for what coach T.J. Otzelberger called a failure to meet program expectations, addressed the situation in a lengthy Twitter post on Wednesday night.
No specifics were given by Otzelberger or Grill about why Grill was dismissed but Grill said Wednesday, “Unfortunately I said something that I regret which has cost me the opportunity to finish out my dream at Iowa State.”
Grill, who played at Maize from 2015-19, also said he was battling mental health issues throughout the season, which put him in a “dark place.”
“One day, when I’m brave enough, I hope to be able to share my story about my mental health and mental illness I have been battling through all season,” Grill wrote. “While everyone was commenting about the hair, or the funny actions on the court, it was a way for me to get out of that state of mind and feel like me being myself instead of the dark place I have been in this season.”
Grill said that without the support of his family, he’s not sure he would be alive and may “have made a decision that would have affected so many people’s lives.”
Grill’s dad, Chris, is the basketball coach at Maize. He and wife Lena have three sons, including Kyle and Alec.
Grill’s dismissal was perhaps most surprising because of his longtime connection to Otzelberger, who was the coach at South Dakota State when Grill committed to play there just before his senior year at Maize. When Otzelberger took the job at Iowa State in 2019, Grill instead signed with Iowa State.
After Grill’s first season with the Cyclones, Otzelberger became coach at UNLV, and Grill followed him there. Otzelberger took the Iowa State job after one year at UNLV, and Grill rejoined ISU for a second stint. He’s in his fourth college season and was averaging a career best 9.5 points.
Grill said he followed Iowa State closely during his year at UNLV and considers himself a lifelong Cyclone. He helped the team to a Sweet 16 appearance in 2022.
“I got the opportunity to live the dream ever since I was a kid,” Grill wrote. “(B)eing able to play in Hilton Coliseum was a dream I’ve had since I was 13 years old. Every moment I’ve had at Iowa State has been the best blessing I have ever received in college.”
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