Devonte Graham finally got his wish earlier this week when new Appalachian State coach Jim Fox released the incoming freshman point guard from the letter of intent he signed in 2012. It's a battle Graham had been fighting for months with former Mountaineers coach Jeff Capel, who didn't want to lose the late-rising guard after a stellar post-graduate season at New Hampshire's Brewster Academy brought attention from high major programs.
Graham had out-played his commitment to Appalachian State and was prepared to sit out the season if he wasn't granted his released. Fox did the sensible thing, and Graham seems pretty relieved by it:
wow officially released !!!! Thanking god right now !— Devonte' Graham (@im_dat_kid_dtae) April 9, 2014
Graham is widely considered the best available point guard in the class of 2014, and is drawing interest from a huge number of schools. On Friday, he trimmed Rutgers, Missouri, Clemson and Georgia Tech off his list. Not bad for a player who was originally ticketed to play in the Southern Conference.
So, who is left? Take a deep breath.
Virginia, Providence, NC State and Nebraska each visited Brewster to meet with Graham on Thursday. Kansas, Cincinnati, Florida and Virginia Tech are coming on Friday. What school would be the best fit?
Kansas and Florida are the biggest names on the list. The Jayhawks struggled this past season in part because of shaky point guard play, but it seems like a stretch that Graham would be able to unseat Naadir Tharpe in his senior season. Graham could be groomed as the point guard in waiting for the Jayhawks, though there's always the worry that Bill Self could recruit over him. Florida just lost arguably its best player, point guard Scottie Wilbekin, but Kasey Hill will be handed the reigns of the offense in his sophomore season.
Providence just lost senior guard Bryce Cotton, the team's leading scorer at nearly 22 points per game and the guy who dropped 36 points on North Carolina in the round of 64 during the NCAA Tournament. The Friars don't have a ton of depth in the backcourt, so Graham would be a good fit. NC State, who just lost guard Tyler Lewis to transfer, would be another intriguing option.
The last few days have certainly been a whirlwind for Graham, and things won't settle down until he's made his decision. The process to get to this point has been frustrating, but it might end up being beneficial for him in the long run. With teams scrambling for backcourt help next season, there aren't many available players who are more appealing than the 6'2, 175-pound Graham. With a host of high major teams calling, Graham finally received the opportunity he's wanted for so long.