As Joey Graham sat on the bench redshirting during his transfer season the Oklahoma State basketball team was playing in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 6 seed. The Cowboys won their first game easily against Pennsylvania. In the Round of 32 the Cowboys had the daunting task of playing Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse. The Cowboys would go on to lose that game.
“I honestly believe we could have won a championship the year we played Syracuse in that (Round of 32) series when Syracuse went on to win it,” Graham said.
Graham transferred from the University of Central Florida after his sophomore season, but due to NCAA rules had to take a redshirt year at OSU. After that Graham left his mark at OSU in his final two seasons.
In his two seasons at UCF, Graham averaged 10.8 points per game and started 49 games.
In his two seasons with the Cowboys he averaged 15 points and 5.7 rebounds. Graham had his breakout season his senior year when he averaged 17.7 points and 6.2 rebounds.
In his two seasons at OSU Graham and the Cowboys made the Final Four and a Sweet 16.
Graham’s path after playing seven seasons in the NBA brought him back to Stillwater where he is an assistant coach on the Stillwater High School basketball team. He also holds basketball camps and trainings at Graham’s Shooting Stars Academy.
Graham, alongside former teammates Tony Allen and JamesOn Curry, was back in Stillwater for the Cowboys’ senior night game against Iowa State on Feb. 29. Their coach, Eddie Sutton, was also in attendance for the game. The four finally caught up together at what could be the last time the four are in the same room.
“It was fun. I haven’t seen Tony (Allen) honestly since I played him in the NBA, and JamesOn Curry the last time I saw him was I saw him in Oklahoma City,” Graham said. “He was coaching his daughter’s AAU team and that was a few months back, but before that the last time was when I played against him when we had the NBA lockout and I went to the D-League to play in the playoffs and he was over there in the D-League and that was in 2012. It was good catching up with those guys. It was good catching up with Tony and it’s always good to see (Sutton).”
Sutton has been struggling with health issues recently, so to be able to see him made Graham’s experience that much better.
“You know, in the state and condition that he’s in it’s always good to see him,” Graham said. “I think us three there at that time he remembered a little bit and put a smile on his face. So it was good to see him smiling and he can’t really talk much, but we knew from that smile that we knew what it meant and he was happy to see us. All three of us shared how much he meant to us, how much we appreciate him and the love.”
Graham called Sutton a Hall of Fame coach when describing what he meant to him and had a strong opinion on the Hall of Fame leaving Sutton out.
“It’s a travesty,” Graham said. “I’ve seen and know tons of guys that have been nominated or that are in the Hall of Fame that aren’t even in the same caliber as Eddie. How many coaches do you know that have that many wins, has influenced and touched so many lives as he has and are not a Hall of Fame coach? The different teams that he’s been on and coached not a lot of people can say they’ve done that and turned programs around. Every team that he’s ever coached was a successful and winning program. The board the guys that nominate the ones who have to vote for the Hall of Fame it’s on them. The time has passed. It might be a situation where Eddie’s gone before they even consider, which is not the way it’s supposed to be.”