Howard's Graf a total package

January 31, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Staff Writer

The first thing people notice about Howard's Aaron Graf is that, among high school players, his size is unusual for his position. Graf is 6 feet 4 and plays guard.

That size, his mastery of a myriad of basketball skills and his academic prowess combine to make him an attractive college recruit.

A number of Division III schools and a couple from Division I have displayed an interest in Graf, who leads Howard in assists (3.1) and is second in scoring (11.3) and rebounding (8.5).

"He's done everything possible to get himself into college," Howard coach Kevin Broadus said.

Graf tried to attract the attention of college coaches last summer attending two sessions of the Five-Star camp and also the Blue Chip Shootout at Catholic University. He made an all-star team at one Five-Star session.

He's a multi-dimensional player who can shoot from long range, drive or crash the boards. He's the point man in breaking opposing presses. And he had 11 assists in one game this season.

His best overall game was against league-leading Atholton in which he scored 18 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had six assists. He shot 9-for-13 from the floor in the 70-69 loss for Howard.

Four of his baskets came in the third quarter as the Lions pressured the Raiders. Three more came in the fourth quarter.

"Graf's a fine player," Atholton coach Jim Albert said. "He's a streak shooter who can use his size to shoot over you or he can penetrate."

If Graf continues to produce as he did against Atholton, the Lions could be contenders for a league title.

"That Atholton game was really the first game he produced the way I think he can," Broadus said. "I'd like to see him shooting more and think he's capable of scoring 15 points per game. He's an unselfish player -- that's why he doesn't shoot more."

Graf's highest scoring game this season was 19 points against Park.

A lot has been expected from Graf since his sophomore season when he averaged 16 points for the junior varsity. Last season, heaveraged only six points for the varsity and played some games at point guard.

Graf thinks he hasn't gotten into the flow this season, because the team has two new starting guards, DaLawn Parrish and Monte Carter, and a new starting forward, sophomore Mike Green.

The Lions have returning All-County forward Javier Michaux, the county's leading scorer (22.6) and rebounder (10.4) as an anchor. Michaux and Graf are co-captains.

Graf could be playing for Centennial, because Graf moved into that school district after his freshman year. But Graf elected to remain at Howard, a decision that pleased Broadus.

"He's a pleasure to coach because he never whines, works hard, is very unselfish and has decent fundamentals," Broadus said. "I'm glad he's here instead of at Centennial."

Graf has come a long way since his freshman year when he was 5 feet 9 and weighed 98 pounds.

"I didn't get to play much that season," said Graf, who bulked up to 167 pounds through weightlifting.

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