Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Michael Graham: Georgetown's enforcer

There may never have been a player with so much talent who performed so big in such a short amount of time than former Georgetown Hoya Michael Graham...Graham set the tone for the Hoyas to capture the 1984 national title with his animalistic offense and elbow flying rebounds...he was the epitome of Hoya Paranoia...

The Georgetown Basketball History Project website best describes Graham's play during the late season in 1984:

Graham's college statistics were not the stuff of legend: in his first 11 Big East games, Graham averaged 2.9 points and just over one rebound per game. Graham scored 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench in the season finale against Syracuse, but scored only one basket in the next two games, both of which were in the early rounds of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. The conference final, on March 9, 1984, began the Michael Graham legend.


He only played seven minutes in the game, failing to score a field goal. But down the stretch, with Patrick Ewing in foul trouble and Syracuse seeking to put the favored Hoyas away, Thompson saw how Graham had handled himself in the season finale with the Orangemen and placed him down low to protect Ewing from a fifth foul. Graham stepped it up defensively, bottling up Andre Hawkins and, in one memorable exchange, with the two tangled under the basket, Graham took a wild swing at him. Immediately ejected by one official, the referees conferred and issued a personal foul instead--other than the Manley finale, few plays still arouse such anger from Orange fans. Graham stayed in the game (ironically, it was his only foul of the game), but the Hoyas caught a second wind, got the game into overtime, and pulled away in a classic, 82-71.


The national spotlight fell squarely upon Graham, whose shaved head became a symbol of Georgetown's take-no-prisoners persona. By month's end, his 22 points and 11 rebounds in the NCAA Final Four won him All-Tournament honors. His 7 for 9 shooting against Houston helped the Hoyas while Patrick Ewing was in foul trouble, and Graham's late dunk sealed the game with just over two minutes remaining. The following week, it was Michael Graham, not Patrick Ewing or John Thompson, on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

With Patrick Ewing coming back for his senior season, the future looked endless for Graham to build on his post-season success...but the sudden fame went to his bald head as he missed taking final exam...eventually coach John Thompson got tired of Graham's act and threw him off the team for the 1985 season...Graham eventually transferred to the University of District of Columbia but never played a game there...he entered the NBA draft and was selected by Seattle in the 4th round...but Graham never played a minute in the NBA...he bounced around in European and South American leagues and eventually just faded away...

In 2005, Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl found Graham...Graham had fond memories of that national championship season with Georgetown and still considered himself a Hoya - for life...but he wondered how many titles Georgetown could have won if he stayed on the team...would Villanova had beaten the Hoyas in that epic 1985 title game if Graham was on the team...

No one will ever know...but what is known, Graham played a major role in Georgetown securing its only national title during a four week run that started in the Big East tournament...

1 comment:

pay per head services said...

It is the first time that I heard about him. I think that it is great what he accomplished all those things.