Following a family tradition Boys basketball: Murray Graves, scaring Oakland Mills foes with his scoring and leaping ability, reminds some of when his father played for Glenelg.

January 09, 1998|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

The name Murray Graves still has cachet in the memories of some former Howard County basketball greats such asWilde Lake coach Lester Clay, who once played for Atholton.

Graves graduated from Glenelg in 1972 and played against Clay's Atholton Raiders with a strong group of Gladiators teammates that included Mike McLarin, Kevin Johnson, Jimmy Dorsey, Dave Speidel and Pete Traber.

Graves, who also laced them up for two seasons at Bowie State, remembers knocking heads with Adrian Dantley of NBA and Notre Dame fame, the year that Glenelg lost to DeMatha.

Twenty-five years later, Graves' son, Murray Jr., is making a name for himself at Oakland Mills, where he's averaging 20.9 points and 8.5 rebounds for eight games. He scored 26 points and had 13 rebounds against Loyola and had a season-high 29 points against Long Reach Wednesday.

"He's the most talented kid in the county, overall," said Clay, whose team held Graves to a season-low 10 points but lost the game. "I thought we had to stop him, but by concentrating on him we let their other players beat us. He has a good understanding of the game, runs the floor, has inside moves and can shoot outside. He's your go-to man in the middle who can finish. If I could pick only one player in the county, I'd pick him."

"Junior," as his father calls him, is a 6-foot-5, 190-pound junior, who despite leading the county in scoring, is still striving to achieve his potential.

"Give him another year to fill out, and the sky is the limit for him," Oakland Mills coach Dave Appleby said. "He's trying to work on his perimeter game so he can get to the next level. Right now, he is nowhere close to his potential."

Graves, a leaper who is quick to the ball, averaged 12 points as a sophomore. He credits his scoring improvement this season to a better mental game: "I'm a little smarter this year and play more under control."

He was able to move from center to forward this season with the team's addition of 6-foot-5, 240-pound Gregg Kellett.

"Kellett has really helped me a lot because he sets great screens. And by playing forward now, I can slash to the basket," Graves said.

Graves thinks he would be doing even better if he had playing buddy Tony Breland, who performed spectacularly as a sophomore last season but is ineligible.

The two have played Amateur Athletic Union ball together for the First Baptist Church for several years, along with other standouts such as Devin Conwell (Long Reach), Brian Boykins (Atholton) and Jabraille Jackson (Howard).

That AAU team finished third in the state Under-17 division and among the top 16 teams at the national tournament in Florida.

His father hasn't been Junior's only family basketball mentor. An uncle, Tony Graves, played for DeMatha and Georgia Southern.

"I lived with him in Florida two summers ago, and we worked out together," Graves said.

Graves' paternal grandfather, John, also has some basketball knowledge and is a frequent visitor at Graves' games. He coached Oakland Mills' JV to a 17-5 record in 1986-87.

"He has some potential if he keeps developing," said John Graves, who played football at Illinois State. "He needs to work on his mental game"

For the past two seasons, his dad has tried to get Junior to run cross country to build strength and endurance. One year, he was too late coming out, and last fall he was ineligible.

Graves credits his family support for getting him where he is.

"I didn't think I'd be any good and thought twice about playing," he said, "but my family has stayed behind me, especially my granddaddy, father and uncle."

Pub Date: 1/09/98

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