Treveon Graham’s had to earn everything.
Coming out of St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown, Maryland, the Washington, D.C. native was only a two-star recruit, according to ESPN ... even after averaging 21.5 points and 12 rebounds and earning All-Metropolitan D.C. area honors as a senior.
Then four years later, after earning three All-Conference Team selections, the 6’5” swingman still went undrafted out of Virginia Commonwealth University. He played a year for the Idaho Stampede before spending the last two seasons with the Hornets. He signed his Nets’ contract this past summer.
The willingness to earn everything is part of why he chose Brooklyn to begin with.
“What I told them as they were recruiting me was I wanted to go somewhere that I can compete for a job,” Graham, who has a one-year deal with a team option, told NetsDaily at Media Day. “I understand nothing is going to be guaranteed to me. I’m going to fight for my minutes. That’s something they liked about me; how I am and how hard I work.”
And also, he sees the Nets organization as family-oriented.
“This is something I really cherish … they make sure you’re okay,” Graham said of his new home. “They make sure your body is doing good. They make sure you eat well. They make sure everybody is doing well. I think that’s the biggest thing that got me so comfortable with Brooklyn this fast.”
Graham is also one of the quiet ones on a team of social media stars who use it as a tool to highlight their personalities. Spencer Dinwiddie and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in particular work hard on their Internet brands.
Despite being on Twitter since May of 2011, he’s only tweeted 700 times, including eight tweets since the beginning of August when he signed with Brooklyn.
Instagram? Once in a while – nothing between July 30 and September 24.
The former Ram, who once hit a game-winner against Joe Harris and the Virginia Cavaliers in college, isn’t into social media too much, unlike some of his teammates.
“I don’t really read too much into it. I’ve just never been a part of the social media world too much. I feel like there’s a lot of distractions on there,” the 24-year-old said. “I use it; I still have it but I don’t try to read too much into it. I just follow what my family and friends are doing and less about me.”
So it’s hard to get to know him. Graham is one of the less heralded signings of this past off-season. After posting 4.3 points and 1.9 rebounds with 41.2% three-point shooting last year at Charlotte, the player with the nickname, “Freight Train,” finds himself in a situation more tailored to not only his habits, but his game.
Graham is a 3-and-D guy who will likely play and guard up to four positions when the opportunity is presented.
He’s near salivating at the chance to prove he’s not just a roster body, or the 15th man.
“I love the fact that they love 3-and-D basketball, that’s something that I have grown to become the last couple of years,” he said. “Just to see that they’re known to shoot the three as much as they do – it’s something I really like to do and I’m really good at.
“Ever since college I played the 4,” he adds of his versatility. “So I’ve been comfortable there, taking on bigger guys – no matter where they put me I’ll have a real high comfort level doing it.”
Net head coach Kenny Atkinson recently said he’s been impressed with Graham so far, particularly with his rebounding.
“I’d put Treveon Graham into that mix,” Atkinson offered when asked about whose been most impressive on the boards last week. “That was one of the things that revealed itself. He’s got a big body and will go get offensive boards. He gives us some girth and strength. That balances out maybe some of our less experienced rebounders.”
In the NBA, opportunity can create logjams, which is what Graham will have to fight, starting in preseason.
The forward joins a deep and improved Net roster that includes DeMarre Carroll, Allen Crabbe, Joe Harris, Caris LeVert, Dzanan Musa, Jared Dudley and Theo Pinson, who will all occupy the same if not similar spots on the floor.
But Graham chose this. He wanted to be in Brooklyn. He wanted to fight and earn the respect of his teammates and organization. So when asked what does he make of his chances, his response wasn’t a surprise.
“I feel like it’s up to me,” he answered. “If I play and how much I play is up to me. It’s up to me to get in the gym and work. It’s up to me to show that I deserve to be on the court. I don’t want anything handed to me and that’s why I came here. Being in this situation makes me feel like I’m at home and makes me feel like coming to work and be a part of something great.”
Graham will also be one of many Nets on a contract year, which serves as an extra bit of motivation for the D.C. native.
“I think about that a lot. It pushes me to work hard because next year isn’t guaranteed,” he said. “This year I’m going to have to do what I have to do to get on the court and show that I deserve that next contract.”
If he does earn it, he’ll have time to leave an impression. He’ll also have time to experience the city, a city he says he has a little familiarity with, because his girlfriend is a New Yorker.
He just won’t be doing it with a car.
“Oh no. No-no-no. No driving here,” he said, cracking a smile. “I’ll Uber, but if it’s close enough I’ll walk, I love walking. Those are my main sources of transportation. I do have my car but it’s collecting dust right now in the garage just sitting there. I’d rather use an Uber instead of just wasting time finding parking and all that.”
We all feel him there. At least, for his sake, he’s earned that option.