Grahams Do Role Reversal In NCAA Opener

KANSAS CITY, Mo -- When Stevie and Joey Graham first transferred to Oklahoma State the thought was the two twins would grow into the starting lineup together. Afterall, they were twins in off the court, but not twins on the court. The reality of this season is that Joey Graham has been a starter since mid December and has ascended to fan favorite status in Stillwater averaging 12 points and five rebounds a game.

Meanwhile, Stevie has averaged just eight and a half minutes a game, not playing at all in many contests and is just scoring an average of three points and a rebound and a half a game. The book is that Stevie has not been as intense and worked as hard in practice. The reality is that the lineup produced an opening for Joey, an inch taller, before it did for Stevie. The two brothers are close and Joey has kept Stevie up while he has had such individual success, while his brother has sat.  

      "That's how we are as brothers and twins," said Joey. "We are always on each other, telling each other, and giving each other advice on things. I think that is the way we are as a team. That's what makes this team so special."    

      "You have to keep each other up," said Stevie. "We're brothers and we have to be there for each other. It's important that we stay on each other and I pick him up and he picks me up. It's very important for us."    

      In the Cowboys first round win 75-56 over Eastern Washington, the brothers did a little role reversal act. Joey struggled, his first shot attempt didn't come until the 18 minute mark of the second half. He was saddled with foul problems and fouled out of the game with seven minutes left. His line had just four points and two rebounds.   

      Meanwhile, Eddie Sutton's frustration early in the game caused him to unload the bench and pull the starters. Stevie Graham showed the defensive intensity that Sutton was looking for and Graham knocked down his first two shots. Graham only played seven minutes, but he had six points, two rebounds, and an assist. It was a nice feeling. It made all the time on the bench and the wait feel a little better.   

      "It definitely does, I've just been sitting back and waiting for my chance to get out there and help out the team as much as I can, on the defensive end on the offensive end, anyway I can," said Stevie. "Taking my time helping the team get a win and go to the championship."   

      Yes, role reversal, but the two brothers both know what the other can do.   

      "Steve is always ready to play any game, any night he can come in and play well," said Joey. "I was proud of him for coming in and giving some great minutes for us."   

      It was made especially fun in that they had their older brother to share it with. He was here and Stevie said he didn't need to remind Joey that for the first time since the early season win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi he had outscored his brother.    

      "My older brother (Brian, who played at South Florida) was in town to watch these games," said Stevie smiling. "I just let my older brother shout out at him and give him some words of encouragement and criticism. He took those words to heart and he'll have a better game against Memphis."  

        "That's the way it's always been since we started playing basketball," added Joey about older brother Brian. "That's the role of a big brother to give advice. He was playing the big brother role. He played in Conference USA and played against Memphis, so he was telling us how they play, a lot like us."    

      Now the Cowboys go into the second round game with Memphis with some older brotherly advice, both confident that they can contribute to the cause, and both Graham twins displaying the class of winners. That class comes from a strong childhood in which they were raised by two solid parents. Their father Joseph, a Naval aviator, and mother Rose made sure their boys do things right, and they are very proud of the way they have turned out and their accomplishments.   

      "He says that all the time," said Joey of their father. "He tells us on the phone that he is proud of us and what we've accomplished. He's always saying that we've passed him up. The only thing we havn't done yet is get that diploma, but hopefully we will get that in May."   

      Stevie is also thinking of a big event tomorrow.   

      "I feel pretty good to get this win, and then Sunday beat Memphis and go on to the next bracket."   

      Dad, mom, big brother, and sister would all have to admit that if that get's done the brothers Graham will be flying high.

GoPokes Top Stories