While neither he nor his parents would disclose the reason Maryland gave the NCAA in order to get a hardship waiver — "a family decision," Ernie Graham called it — the attraction to Maryland was Turgeon.
Jon Graham told his parents that Turgeon reminded him of DeChellis, who now coaches Navy.
"They're both high-character guys," Ernie Graham said.
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DeChellis said Graham worked hard in the weight room "to improve his body" while redshirting his freshman year, then worked his way into the rotation and eventually the starting lineup as a sophomore.
"He was a blue-collar player, a guy who brought his lunch pail to work, which you don't see a lot these days," DeChellis said this week.
Many thought Turgeon was doing the family a favor by taking Graham last summer, but Ernie Graham said he wouldn't have allowed his son to transfer to Maryland "if I knew in my heart he couldn't compete. He just needed the opportunity."
'Whatever is needed'
Turgeon — whose Terps (10-6, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) play at Florida State on Sunday night — appreciates what Graham has done for his young and still developing team. He has given a group with a lot of shooters a guy who spends most of his time chasing down their misses. He has also given a team that lacks a shot-blocker a semblance of one.
Graham has 10 blocked shots in 146 minutes, one more than Cleare has in nearly 100 more minutes and three more than Mitchell, who has played the most of Maryland's big men.
Against George Washington, Graham had five points, five rebounds and three blocks in 15 minutes; against Tulsa, Graham pulled down seven rebounds in 20 minutes.
But Graham is quick to point out that "I feel like I still have more that I can give to this team."
While his father was used at nearly every position except center for Lefty Driesell, Graham is playing mostly at center and power forward despite being smaller than many of his opponents.
Graham said the shooting lessons his father gave him years ago have stuck. The younger Graham said he could now outshoot his father, who made 52 percent of his field goal attempts at Maryland and ranks 13th on the school's scoring list with 1,607, including the record 44 he scored against North Carolina State.
"I'm a pretty good shooter, actually," Jon Graham said. "I want to do whatever is needed. If a team starts to zone us, and there is an open 10-footer or 15-footer, I can make the shot. But I want to make the right plays when I'm out there."
That does not surprise Calvert Hall coach John Bauersfeld. Recalling how Graham averaged about 18 points and 10 rebounds a game as a sophomore, Bauersfeld said Graham never complained when his offensive numbers went down as the talent on the team improved.
"He's incredibly selfless," Bauersfeld said of Graham, who wound up as the school's second-leading scorer with over 1,700 points, behind only Duane Ferrell and right ahead of Juan Dixon. "He never batted an eye, never complained, never said he wasn't getting enough touches. He really just wants to win."
Turgeon said Graham has shown in practice an ability to hit an open 15-footer "off a pick and pop". But in Maryland's offense, Graham is needed more for tip-ins than 3-pointers, more for his defense than his dunks.
"I bet he's one of the better 3-point shooters on the team," Ernie Graham said, "but he's not going to step outside his role."
On a team lacking role players, Graham is in the mold of a Byron Mouton, whom the younger Graham recalled watching when he started following the Terps the year before they won the 2002 NCAA title.
"Mouton was one of the more underappreciated players on that team. He did a lot of the dirty work, things that most people don't see," Graham said. "The game is more than just scoring and rebounding. You can impact the game in many positive ways."