Basketball player Devonte' Graham shares the ins and outs of time management for a student athlete
By: Alana Flinn | @alana_flinn
Bundled in his warm-up sweats on his way to class, freshman guard Devonte’ Graham tackles the stairs to Wescoe. As he does so, many passersby do double takes at the freshman basketball player.
For most freshmen, the first months of school are dedicated to figuring out the right ways to study, what parties to go to and where to park without getting a ticket. For Graham, it’s finding a way to balance school and playing for one of the top five basketball schools in the country.
“You’ve just got to find it in yourself to stay on top of your homework and stuff,” Graham said. “It’s hard with basketball and traveling, but you’ve just got to keep up with it.”
Graham grew up in a single-parent household with his mom and sister in Raleigh, N.C. As the man of the house from a young age, Graham immersed himself in athletics in hopes of earning a scholarship so his mother wouldn’t have to pay for his college.
Graham played basketball, football and baseball through middle school, before deciding to focus on basketball in eighth grade.
Graham said basketball was the best sport for him to pursue as a career.
“It’s something I enjoy and love to do,” Graham said. “Once you figure out something you’re good at, you just like to do it all the time and I just love to play. That’s one thing I can count on.”
Now as a freshman student athlete, Graham is starting to learn the ins and outs of focusing on both basketball and school.
“So far it’s been great,” Graham said. “A lot of people know us around campus and just being in this program has been pretty fun so far. At times it gets overwhelming, but that comes along with it, and you prepare for it.”
Graham said the most overwhelming experience he has had involves a female on campus.
“There’s this one girl I always see and every time I see her she’s like ‘do you remember me? I told you to come here and follow your heart.’ Every single time I see her,” Graham said.
The transition from being a high school athlete to a college athlete majoring in sports management has been a big change for Graham.
“[College] is way harder. The stage is way bigger and it’s like a lifestyle now,” Graham said. “In high school you could always goof around, but now practice is more serious and intense and so is the competition.”
Graham estimates he spends 40 hours a week on basketball, classes, school work and tutoring.
“Time management might be the biggest challenge,” Graham said. “It’s hard to balance your time throughout the day with class, practice and tutoring.”
If he didn’t decide to play basketball in college, Graham said his life would be very different.
“I think about it all the time,” Graham said. “Me and Kelly [Oubre] were just talking about that the other day, saying we’d probably be at some junior college at home.”
Graham said that basketball has presented many opportunities for him.
“It’s given me the opportunity to travel the world, play high level competition and do things I never thought I could do,” Graham said. “I go places I never imagined growing up that you always see on TV, and it’s given me the opportunity to get a free education.”
Even with the daily pressure and busy schedule, Graham is content with his decision to attend and play basketball at Kansas.
“I felt like it was the best place for me,” Graham said. “I loved it when I came to visit. It felt like home.”
— Edited by Rob Pyatt
Photos by: George Mullinix/KANSAN