Jordan Graneto has spent a lot of time in the gym at McNary High School over the course of his life.

As a former Celtic player, Graneto led McNary to back-to-back Greater Valley Conference Championships back in 2008 and 2009. 

In 2016, Graneto came back to the McNary program to be the junior varsity boys basketball coach and was also an assistant on the varsity squad for two years.

On Friday, Feb. 15, Graneto made his return to the McNary gym, but this time, he was on an opposing sideline.

Former McNary grad and current Sprague boys basketball coach Jordan Graneto looks on as his team falls behind in the second half (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings)

Graneto is in his first season as the head boys basketball coach at Sprague High School. With a 15-8 record, he has the Olympians poised to make a run in the postseason — although his team did fall to the Celtics 60-46 last Friday.

“Coaching against (Graneto) is unique because it’s like coaching against yourself,” McNary head coach Ryan Kirch said. “I felt very fortunate to have him in our program because it was like having two head coaches. He is a really, really good coach.”

Despite his history with McNary, this wasn’t Graneto’s first time coaching against the Celtics.

After graduating high school in 2009, Graneto went on to play basketball for two years at Corban College. When his playing career was over, Graneto spent two years as an assistant at Sprague and two seasons as the head coach for North Salem before making his return to McNary.

However, what was a tad awkward for Graneto was coaching against kids that he had spent so much time molding in the previous two seasons. 

“That part is a little weird. Coaching against kids that I had coached before is obviously difficult because I have formed relationships with those guys,” Graneto said. “But I also want to win.”

Kirch added: “All of our players have a ton of respect for Jordan. He was great at building relationships with players. But once the ball was tipped, we were trying to compete and win.” 

Even though he is no longer with the Celtics, Graneto received a warm welcome from people when he came back to the school last week. Whether it was teachers and fans greeting him with a handshake and short conversation before the game, or seeing his former players give him a hug afterwards, it was clear to see that Graneto is still very much loved and respected at McNary.

“McNary has been really good to me,” Graneto said. “It was a great place to grow up and a great place to play basketball. I had a lot of people who influenced me to do what I am doing now.”

“I still have a lot of people that I really love here.”