Graves On a Tear

William Graves isn't as highly ranked by recruiting analysts as his fellow UNC signees, but none of the other future Tar Heels have scored 48 points in a game this season.

The 6-6 Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley senior hit that mark, as well as grabbing 16 rebounds, in his team's 101-54 win over Western Guilford in the conference tournament semifinals Wednesday.

"He hit eight threes and really hit the boards hard," Dudley coach David Price said.

But his play against Western Guilford wasn't that much different from most of his other performances in the latter half of this season. According to Price, Graves has been consistently performing very well and is his pick for the state's top player.

"Will is the best player in the state hands down and he performs every night like it," Price said. "I cannot visualize someone else in the state being better or performing better than him. He had 30 on Oak Hill. I just don't see anybody being better."

And the 30 points against Oak Hill was just the beginning of his scoring hot streak, which has included 38 against Bartlett-Yancey, 42 at Northeast and 28 at Cummings -- all of which were accompanied by double-digit rebounding totals. Dudley hasn't lost over the last month dating back to the Oak Hill defeat on Jan. 16.

One aspect of Graves' game that makes him such a quality prospect is his versatility. Graves plays a number of positions for his high school team and is trying to become a complete player.

"With his size and skills he can play anywhere," Price. "Sometimes we play him at the point. He can play all five positions. In college I could easily see him playing anywhere from the one, two, three or four. Personally I think he's a perimeter player. That's just my opinion."

Price, who has coached Dudley to a 21-4 record, also believes that his best player will be an impact player for the Tar Heels.

"That's a hard prediction to make," Price said when asked if Graves could play right away. "He has the skills to do that. I think if he works hard and keeps everything in perspective he should have a chance. He should have a chance to be good before he leaves Carolina."

The main reason Price thinks Graves will be able to contribute on Chapel Hill is his shooting ability. Graves is shooting 80 percent from the free throw line and is just over 50-percent from the field.

"He shoots the ball very well," Price said. He's a cool player that doesn't turn it over a lot. He can handle the ball and shoot the ball. He's got savvy, he can drive it and he knows how to use his body and he can rebound his butt off. He's got size and strength."

Graves will take the court again Friday in the Triad 3-A Conference Finals. Dudley will host the winner of the Northeast Guilford-Morehead game.

William Graves Profile

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