March 17, 2008

Graham should bring instant offense with him

Throughout the ups and downs of Texas Tech's basketball season, one thing has been evident- the Red Raiders are in need of a serious scorer. Though Tech made strides toward addressing that need when they signed Mike Singletary and John Roberson last year, it was painfully obvious this season that finding a true scorer needed to be a priority in the 2008 class.

Look no further than North Carolina prep standout Tyree Graham, who just led his team to a Final Four appearance in his home state.

"We lost to Calvary Baptist, who's the number one private school in our classification, by just a few points in the Final Four," he explained. "We ended up 24-9 on the year."

Graham, who has been a Tech commit since the fall, had a terrific season, averaging 27 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals per game in the regular season. In conference play Graham took his game to a new level, pouring in 32 points per game. But the improvement didn't stop there.

"When the playoffs rolled around, I got really sick," said Graham. "So in the quarters and the semis, I was battling the flu pretty bad. I was sick as a dog. I mean, I was sick all day, but it was win or go home, and I didn't want to go home, so I just had to go out and play hard."

And play hard he did, dropping 38 points in the quarterfinals and scoring 28 in the semifinal loss to Calvary. Then again, that didn't surprise anyone who'd been following North Carolina prep basketball, as Graham's list of achievements is longer than Pinocchio's nose in the midst of perjury.

"Let's see, as far as post-season honors go, I'm not really sure about most of them," answered the humble Graham when asked about his accolades. "I know I got 1st team All-State, and we won our conference both in the regular season and the tournament, and I was the tournament MVP and the conference MVP."

Though Graham's accomplishments this season were impressive statistically, he says the most important thing about this season was what he learned about himself.

"I feel like I've learned that you need to give it your all in every game during every second," he explained. "And I feel like after this year, I can now go on to Tech and try to separate myself and become an even better player. I know now that you can't ever take a game off, because someone's gunning for you, and it will be that way at Tech."

Graham also mentioned that he has a strong relationship with Tech's coaching staff and the school of Texas Tech itself.

"Every week I talk to the coaches," he said. "I think playing for Pat's going to be a great opportunity. I was sad to see Coach Knight go, but I signed with Texas Tech and the Lubbock community, and the fans and the support they give, and that's why I signed there, so I'm glad I still get to do that, no matter which Knight it's for. I think he might even get us running a little more, which fits me too. So, I think it'll be a great opportunity for me."

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