Terps Land Milwaukee Gem–4 Star 6’8″ Forward James Graham

from the Milwaukee Jounal Sentinel

Nicolet forward James Graham makes his college decision, picking Maryland over UW and others

by Curt Hogg Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

James Graham of Nicolet goes for a tip-in over Michael Foster Jr. of Washington during the 2019 WIAA Division 2 title game.

James Graham is headed to Maryland. 

“What stands out most about Maryland is that assistant coach Bino (Ranson) calls me every day but so does (head coach Mark) Turgeon,” Graham told the Journal Sentinel in July. “That’s a big thing, that the head coach is calling me. Assistants are key to a program, but they aren’t going to be the ones to put you in the game.”https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

According to Graham, Maryland also pitched him on its ability to help him grow his professional image for when he would be able to profit off his likeness.

“That’s not my only focus but, starting in 2021 when I’ll be going to college, that’s when they expect us to be able to make money off our likeness and our brand,” he said. “That’s not something I had thought about really until they brought it up. It’s not my only focus, but if we’re able to make money off our likeness then that’s something to think about.” https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

This past season, Graham averaged 20.6 points per game for a Nicolet team that went 22-2, outscored opponents by an average of 24.2 points over its last nine games and was pegged by many to repeat as the WIAA Division 2 state champion before the season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

When he narrowed his list of potential schools to nine in July, both UW and Marquette made the cut. Florida State, Georgetown, Michigan State and Vanderbilt joined Marquette as the five schools that were then left off Graham’s final four. Get the Coronavirus Watch newsletter in your inbox.

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Wisconsin was the final school to offer before Graham cut his list to nine. UW made a late push with daily communication with Graham, but couldn’t make up the necessary ground. 

“Honestly, it caught me a little by surprise,” Graham said last month. “I know with Coach (Greg) Gard, they really like to take pride in their evaluation and so sometimes they aren’t as fast with an offer. I’m glad they offered, but I just felt they weren’t going to.”

Maryland landed Dominican center and 2015 Wisconsin Mr. Basketball recipient Diamond Stone as its only previous recruit from the state in the 2000s. Stone averaged 12.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in his lone year with the Terrapins before he was taken in the second round of the NBA Draft.

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