Playing alongside two rising big men has helped senior point guard Ty Graves mature with ease.
After playing his junior season at Montverde Academy in Florida alongside LSU superstar and 2016 consensus No. 1 overall pick power forward Ben Simmons, Graves joined High Point Christian Academy in High Point, NC to team up with Kentucky commit and ESPN’s No. 6 ranked player in the class of 2016, center Bam Adebayo for his senior season.
Graves, a Boston College commit, played his first two seasons at Page High in Greensboro and then returned to study there following the end of the basketball year at Montverde as a junior. He then decided to transfer to High Point Christian alongside local talent Adebayo. The Cougars are currently 14-3 and are ranked No. 12 in the country by the USA Today.
Graves and Adebayo have been on the same team in the past. Adebayo, who played at Pinetown Northside the last three years before transferring to High Point Christian started with Graves and fellow transfer junior guard Jalen Seegars on the AAU’s Karolina Diamonds, coached by Ty’s father Kevin Graves.
“It’s been awesome. I mean Bam and I go back to sixth grade playing AAU together,” Graves said. “We’ve always been good friends and had a close bond.”
That close bond is at the forefront of each and every game High Point Christian plays. Adebayo, who is averaging 20.1 points and 12.8 rebounds per game benefits greatly from Graves’ ability to dish out assists and attack the basket with Derrick Rose like speed. Graves is averaging 13.4 points per game, good for second-best on the team.
Those abilities mentioned above are what gave Graves the chance to play at Boston College as he entered his junior season. He also had offers out from Virginia, Virginia Tech, Kansas State and Rutgers.
“Boston College is a great school and great atmosphere,” he said. “What made me choose BC is their style of play and the importance and impact of the point guards that coach Jim Christian has coached and produced. Also, they’re in the ACC.”
Graves credits his father for teaching him everything he knows. He also credited him for helping a whole lot of other Division-I caliber players in his class.
A McDonald’s All-America nominee started to play basketball at age four and says that he’s always had confidence in his game, even back then.
“I always knew I was good but I can always be better,” he said. “AAU basketball has helped me out tremendously with just overcoming tough battles and competing.”
Playing alongside Adebayo and the team’s third leading scorer in crafty guard Michael Hueitt Jr. (10.5 points per game), the Cougars captured the third-place title late last month at the City of Palms Classic down in Fort Myers, Fla.
Graves averaged 16.3 points per game before rolling his ankle in the third place game against Chaminade (Mo.) and No. 2 overall recruit Duke’s Jayson Tatum. In the semifinal, Graves added a tournament best 20 points in a 94-82 loss to the No. 1 team in the country and eventual tournament champion Chino Hills (Calif.). He also took part in the 3-point shootout.
He told me that the City of Palms was definitely his favorite tournament and that he “did everything he could to help his team win third place in the best high school tournament in the nation.”
Coached by Brandon Clifford and his staff, Graves is told to “let it fly” often in practices and live games. He says the player he follows the closest is Golden State Warriors star point guard and 2014-15 NBA MVP Stephen Curry. Graves also enjoys watching Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Boston’s Isaiah Thomas.
In terms of his goals in his final high school season, Graves has this in mind.
“I want to get better at becoming a leader, a complete point guard and coach on the floor and lead us to a national championship.”
With 10 games left in the regular season, High Point Christian has two big time tournaments to play in, starting on Jan. 18 in a rematch against Chino Hills at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. That game will be featured on ESPNU. Then on Jan. 23, they’ll travel to Atlanta, Ga. to face Pace Academy at the Peachtree Corners Invitational.
Graves, Adebayo and the rest of the Cougars have a chance to make a deep postseason run. For now, that’s his focus and rightfully so, but Graves has a bright future ahead of himself at Boston College next fall. He’s smart on and off the floor and that bodes well.
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
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