Q&A with Poly basketball player Darrion Stokes-Graham

When Poly senior Darrion Stokes-Graham is asked to look back on 2012, he can't help but smile. It has been a good year for him.

At the start of the year, the 6-foot-3 forward emerged as a force for the Engineers basketball team and his strong play as a junior helped Poly to a breakthrough 15-7 record.

This season, his third on varsity and second as a starter, he's a team captain and has continued to develop his game with the team off to a 5-1 start.

Stokes-Graham is averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds so far this season, and he also is contributing three steals and two blocks per game.

Off the court, Stokes-Graham combined his passion for art and fashion to create his own clothing line, starting with T-shirts and looking to continue with sweatpants and hoodies.

Maintaining a 2.7 grade point average, Stokes-Graham is still undecided on a college, but is hoping to get the opportunity to play Division I basketball.

What goals does the team have set for this season?

Our first goal is to win the [Baltimore] City championship and our second goal is a state championship. We want to beat some top teams, have a great record and that's what we plan to do.

What makes you a strong leader?

The first thing is school and being a good student. On the court, just being able to talk to my teammates and show them different things they need to work on and also things I may need to work on. And just playing hard no matter what — you have to show everybody that you got to play hard.

What professional player does your game most closely resemble?

Right now, I would say [the Minnesota Timberwolves'] Kevin Love. He's a great post player. He can shoot, grabs a lot of rebounds and he plays really hard.

How did your clothing line get started?

I like fashion, I like to draw and I was trying to come up with a new way to make money. So I drew up a design, talked to my friends and asked them what they thought about it. They liked it, so I came up with a name and talked to some other people to help get me started. It started off with T-shirts and now I'm trying to expand with hoodies, sweatpants and other things.

What did you name the line?

Ambitious Dreamers. I'm a person that works hard and strives to be successful. Dreaming is whatever comes to mind that you want to be. You have to push hard, work for it and be ambitious.

What do you enjoy most about the holiday season?

Family. I go to North Carolina to spend time with my family, and it's a great time. I get to see my grandparents, my great-grandparents and just be around my family. And then to come back and play in a basketball tournament, I get to play with my team and that's great, too.

What is the most special Christmas gift you've ever given?

Last year, I gave my mother about $300. I wasn't able get her a gift earlier, so whatever I got from Christmas, I gave it all to her.

What have you enjoyed most about 2012?

It was a great year for me. It was a big year for Poly basketball, and I started my clothing line as well, so a lot of new stuff was happening.

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