Canes To Get Graham In 2005

The Miami Hurricanes received a piece of good news on Thursday. Talented power forward Jimmy Graham will be on campus a year ahead of schedule and his presence will be welcomed in Coral Gables next fall.

Things are changing for Jimmy Graham. The 6-foot-8 power forward out of Charis Prep who made the old school afro his calling card on the summer circuit, not only changed his hairstyle, he changed his college plans this month.

Graham reclassified as a junior this season at Charis Prep after playing last year at Community Christian. However, the prospect now says he's ready to head to college, graduate with the Class of 2005 and play for the Hurricanes next fall.

"I kind of realized that the place that I would learn the most is just going ahead and going to Miami," Graham said. "I talked to my coach and I've been working hard in high school and the times I've been playing I'm just trying to get better.

"My coach thought that I would learn more under Coach Haith and it's time to leave. It reached the point where he couldn't teach me a lot more and we think that me going [to Miami] now would be the better choice."

As much as reclassifying was about continuing to advance academically, for Graham it was also about gaining the confidence he needed as a player. His 2003-04 season was spent playing against inferior competition. After lacing them up with upstart Charis Prep this year and playing against a much improved schedule, Graham is armed with the confidence he needs to be successful on the college level.

"This year every night I've had to come out of the gates to play and that was something I wasn't used to," Graham said. "The competition has really taught me a lot. Before I would do things wrong and get upset and lose my focus. Now, because of the competition you're going to make mistakes and now I've learned how to look past those and go onto the next play. I've got a lot more confidence in the way I play and in my game."

Last summer, Graham played his way into the all-star game at the Reebok ABCD Camp. His calling card became his hard playing style, ability to rebound and block shots and intensity with which he approached the game. A relative no-name coming into that camp, he earned his way into the all-star game and caught the eye of college recruiters, including Haith. Shortly thereafter, the Hurricanes took a commitment from Graham, at the time under the impression that he would arrive in the fall of 2006.

Graham, who recently cut his ABA-style afro, has been taking the Canes games this year and sees some areas where he can be of assistance. "I really care about what Miami does in basketball and I see where I could really help," Graham says. "I've been watching every game and I see situations where I can add a presence or physicalness down low for them and I really believe that I can do that."

For Miami, Graham becomes the fourth and final member of a talented and well-rounded recruiting class laced with Top 100 type talents like Denis Clemente, Adrian Thomas and the rapidly improving Brian Asbury.

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