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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Keegan

Column: Jayhawks’ Graham exudes confidence

Devonté Graham plays brings the ball up the court during a scrimmage at the Bill Self Basketball Camp, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, at the Horejsi Center.

Devonté Graham plays brings the ball up the court during a scrimmage at the Bill Self Basketball Camp, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, at the Horejsi Center.

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All sorts of modifiers capture different types of confidence, ranging from “quiet” to “obnoxious.”

“Classy” is the best word to put in front of confidence as it relates to Kansas University freshman point guard Devonté Graham.

He’s smart and he knows it, but he doesn’t have to say it because he shows it with everything he says.

In an age when so much communication is non-verbal, from games played with remotes to thumbs, not voices, doing the talking on phones, it has become increasingly difficult to find people in any walk of life comfortable locking eyes and speaking with strong voices. Graham does both.

The Marines who worked with the Kansas basketball team named Graham the team’s best leader, and coach Bill Self took it a step beyond that.

“He’s probably as popular as any student is on campus,” Self said. “I mean, everybody knows him. Everybody likes him. He’s got potential to be a great leader, and he’s really a good basketball player.”

Communication is important in basketball, especially for a point guard, the first defender to influence a possession and the first one to make a decision at the other end.

“I’ve always been a true point guard,” Graham said. “The leadership is just natural with me. I just know things, see things, and I talk. I let people know how I feel, where they should be and I just hold everyone accountable.”

A 6-foot-2, 175-pound native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Graham spent a year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, the same school former Jayhawks Thomas Robinson and Naadir Tharpe attended.

Self has no plans to fasten training wheels to Graham’s bicycle.

“I’ll be honest with you,” Self said of Graham on Media Day, “without seeing him really go up and down a lot, he’s going to be a hard guy to keep out of the lineup.”

As a senior, Graham led his high school, Broughton, to the North Carolina 4A state championship. He had committed to Appalachian State, but asked for his release and was granted it last April.

“With Naadir gone, I just thought it would be a great place for me to be,” Graham said.

He committed to Kansas the day after Tharpe left the program.

“I think the prep school year was definitely a benefit for me,” Graham said. “It helped me grow as a player. I became better. I don’t think I would have been ready, coming straight out of high school, if I didn’t do that prep-school year.”

Ready or not, Graham will play in front of 16,300 basketball fanatics cheering for both teams Friday night.

Comments

Michael Bennett 5 years, 3 months ago

Except the statements about Graham are coming from Bill Self, not Charlie Weis or the local football beat writer straining to keep readers interested in a struggling team...

Robert Brock 5 years, 3 months ago

If you are going to slam our ex-coach, spell his name correctly.

Michael Bennett 5 years, 3 months ago

I was more defending Self than I was "slamming" anybody, it wasn't meant to be harsh at all...

Allison Steen 5 years, 3 months ago

Errr am I missing something? Where is the misspelling?

Michael Bennett 5 years, 3 months ago

I hadn't had my coffee yet (mountain time) and I added an extra "s". It was an ungodly mistake and incredibly disrespectful to our former coach, so I fixed it.

Joe Joseph 5 years, 3 months ago

Agreed. How many times did we hear how awesome/amazing Crist et al looked in practice and pre-season?

Glen Miller 5 years, 3 months ago

You must have an I hate life attitude. This is completely different. Our basketball program has been winning for years and has top notch coaches who know what they are talking about. Not even close to the same scenario, Mr. Negativity lol.

Gerry Butler 5 years, 3 months ago

man, I don't think I've ever seen people that are ALWAYS so pessimistic. there are so many that always looking for more, never satisified the kid hasn't played a single game yet and people are already throwin the dirt in dam between here and the other article today all I know that there are some people who must have really miserable lives. I'm not sayin this kid is gonna be a stud but I mean DAMM. SERIOUSLY? do you have some insight that others don't? its almost funny the way some people come in here and post. their miserable so they want to share that misery. truth being said they are only supporters of when things are good. if there is ANY QUESTION on the team or position here come the whine oh this player won't cut it or we need a different coach or anything that can detract from the program. go visit your friends down I-70 they need all the fans they can get. the QB dilemma has nothing in common with the point guard situation. personally I think any of the three in consideration will be just fine he doesn't have to be a superstar. THE QB thing was what you heard was all about heaps, crist, I don't think anypone was heapin the praise all over cozzart how he was the 2nd coming.if guys just want to get on to just complain daily, then do the other fans a favor find somewhere else to take your pathetic lives cry on your girlfriends shoulder, your ol ladies, but in the main time grow up GO HAWKS

Scott MacWilliams 5 years, 3 months ago

Maybe it's just me, but there is something about this kid that looks and sounds familiar. I'm hoping that with kind of confidence, and apparently the skills to back it up according to the coaches, we might see the advent of the second Jacque Vaughn? JV was such a phenomenal playmaker and distributor, one of the greats in my book.

Bring it on Devonté, lets Rock the Chalk!!

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 3 months ago

In what way is Charlie Weis' name misspelled? I think that Mr. Brock is the one who needs a spelling lesson.

robert rasdon 5 years, 3 months ago

I prefer a freshmen guard to be a good leader than not...so before the mudslinging starts lets see what he can do. im sure the same people who complained about Russell Robinson his freshmen year where spot on....not at all,,

Steve Corder 5 years, 3 months ago

An athlete's confidence can evaporate like a drop of water on a red hot iron.

John Randall 5 years, 3 months ago

More true of some athletes than others. Not true at all for some.

Scott Yessen 5 years, 3 months ago

I see we also offered another pg Marcus LoVett in the 2015 class. Do you guys think HCBS is anticipating whomever of the 3 guards this year is the odd man out, they will transfer?

Erich Hartmann 5 years, 3 months ago

CF needs to transfer to a MVC school, where he can be a star vs that level of competition. He cannot beat out the talent on his own KU team.

Glen Miller 5 years, 3 months ago

You a fan of Kansas State or Missouri? Because you obviously aren't a KU fan..... which leads me to this. Stay off our site you jealous troll!!

Greg Lux 5 years, 3 months ago

Conner is going to be a star at KU over his time in uniform. Maybe not this year but I fully believe his time will come. It's probably just his misfortune that we are loaded with top quality guards and he didn't grow a few more inches. But Mr. Frankamp is and will be a intracel part of our winning Kansas Basketball team in the next 3 years...

John Randall 5 years, 3 months ago

Is intracel the inverse derivative of ectothingy?

Gregor Southard 5 years, 3 months ago

I'm just wondering why he committed to App State if he is truly a D1 point guard? I trust Self, just wondering.

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