Between bouncing from airports to gymnasiums and back again, all in the name of proving himself worthy of some NBA team’s draft pick, Devonte’ Graham’s travels over the past several weeks occasionally have brought him back to Lawrence, where he made a name for himself on the college basketball landscape as a point guard at the University of Kansas.
It was during one such brief swing through KU’s campus that Graham really felt like a former college player and a college graduate.
“When I came back here and I realized I couldn’t get into the mansion,” Graham said of the moment it hit him.
The security system at KU’s McCarthy Hall, his former home, no longer recognized one of the most unmistakable faces in town as a resident.
“My fingerprint don’t work no more and all that kind of stuff. It kind of sinks in,” a smiling Graham narrated.
A likely second-round pick in next week’s NBA Draft, the 6-foot-2 point guard spent a few days in Lawrence in order to make a cameo at KU basketball’s summer camp and play in the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic charity game.
But the bulk of Graham’s time since attending the NBA Draft Combine in mid-May has been dedicated to training in California and flying to meet with and work out for NBA coaches and executives.
Already, Graham put his skills and intangibles on display for Chicago, Phoenix, Washington, Houston, Golden State, Orlando, Memphis, the Los Angeles Lakers and other franchises.
How much of his time these days is spent in airports and riding in jets?
“I don’t know. But I’m racking up some sky miles right now,” Graham said.
According to the confident 23-year-old, who reputable mock drafts predict could go anywhere from 40th overall (according to ESPN) to undrafted (per Sports Illustrated), his shot has served him well over the course of his journey.
“I’ve been killing, man,” Graham said with a smirk. “To be honest I’ve been doing really well in these workouts the past couple of weeks. Just really excited for next Thursday.”
The All-American prospect from KU gauged his best workout to date came this past Tuesday, with the Grizzlies.
He’ll try to surpass that showing during his final two pre-draft workouts, with Dallas and Oklahoma City.
Then he heads back home to Raleigh, where on Thursday Graham will have a “nice little draft party” with “family, friends, homeboys,” as he waits to hear his name called.
And at that moment — or upon reaching a free-agent deal, should it play out that way — Graham will begin trying to leave his fingerprints on the success of his new NBA team, same as he always did at Kansas.