May 3, 2015

Graves digging deep

Kevin McCarthy

The Monterey County area is well known for it bountiful annual agricultural harvest but colleges will also be doing some reaping in the next few years due to a solid number of basketball talents coming to fruition in the area. Jordan Graves is one prospect to watch.

photo of Jordan Graves

A 6-foot-2 2016 talent at North Monterey County High (NMCH), Graves was recently honored by the Monterey Bay League Pacific Division coaches as the Player of the Year. He was also named the 2015 Salinas Californian Player of the Year as well as a member of The Monterey Herald All County team.

The Condors won the conference championship with a spotless 12-0 record and finished 19-5 overall as Graves provided per contest averages of 18.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.5 steals. His game high was 29 points in a triple overtime Central Coast Section D-IV defeat at the hands of The King's Academy on February 26. Besides the points barrage, he totaled six assists, six steals and four rebounds.

This after being selected Monterey Bay League Pacific Division Sophomore of the Year in 2013-14 due to his 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.2 steals per outing contributions.

Graves possesses the hoops bonafides to attract attention and now it's a matter of demonstrating his skills set this spring and summer as a member of the Seaside's Finest travel ball program.

The head of that program, Jason Hieb, offered, “Jordan is a dynamic scorer who can get his shot anytime he wants and he attacks the basket real well off the bounce. What makes Jordan so special is he's a willing passer who sees the court well. He's a scoring guard but is developing into a really good combo guard which will help him at the next level.”

About his best skill, Graves offered, “being a team player and the floor general, getting my teammates involved. I can get shots and score but things open up more for me when my teammates are involved. Basketball is a team sport.” Speaking of his travel team role, “all my teammates are great scorers so I tend to focus on ballhandling and assists with a little scoring.”

There is a special fondness for the hardcourt despite him also being a wide receiver and safety in football and an outfielder in baseball. “My Dad was a great [basketball] player at Seaside High and two of my uncles were also great players.”

Asked for his best hoops moment to date, Graves said, “it was in the CCS playoffs, a first for us, playing King City. I was just locked-in during that game. I think we won by three and I had something like 29 points and 13 rebounds.”

With a goal of playing professionally, he isn't entirely sure of what he'll major in come college “but it will probably be in the medical field, like nursing or a pharmacist.”

Seaside's Finest is one of the undiscovered northern California programs at this point. “Nobody really knows us,” Graves said but that is beginning to change. They took down the Bay Area Warriors on Saturday, going 2-0 in the Nor Cal Spring Showcase.

Next season, NMCH will play in the Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division, a higher rated set of opponents. However, 10 players return to the Condor squad and just a single starter is graduating so there should be some epic battles when powerhouse Palma High and North Monterey County tangle.

Born a few years later, Graves might be answering to a different first name but the timing of His Airness dominating the NBA coincided with his birth and that was that.