EVEN IN DEFEAT, CLEVELAND STATE’S WATERS LOOKS PRETTY SMART

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Treveon Graham scored 20 points and moved into ninth on VCU's career scoring list Monday.

Treveon Graham scored 20 points and moved into ninth on VCU’s career scoring list Monday.

RICHMOND, Va. – At this stage, Treveon Graham’s career requires very little outside input to convince us of his place in VCU basketball history. With each mid-range pull-up, bucket in traffic or shot clock-busting 3-pointer, Graham draws closer to the phase of your life where they hang your laundry from the arena rafters.

So most opinions on Graham’s basketball acuity are simply redundant. Then again, Gary Waters holds a fairly unique perspective on the VCU senior guard/forward. Four years and 1,565 points ago, Waters was one of two Division I coaches to offer the Temple Hills, Maryland native a scholarship. The other, of course, was Shaka Smart.

Monday, Graham reminded Waters, a successful college basketball coach in his ninth year at the helm of the Cleveland State program, of what could’ve been, scoring 20 points to spur VCU (10-3) to a 72-63 win over the Vikings (6-8) at the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.

Graham scored VCU’s first eight points of the game as the Rams built a 12-0 lead they would not relinquish, and moved into ninth place on the program’s all-time scoring list. While Graham’s true position is on the wing, he’s built his legacy primarily as a uniquely talented power forward in VCU Coach Shaka Smart’s system.

“He’s a guard playing a four-man that can score and it’s hard to combat that when he’s playing that well. I thought he did a great job today. I thought he was the key to their team,” Waters said.

It wasn’t long ago Waters hoped Graham would be key to his team. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to say that Graham was destined to be a star, but the number of D-I head coaches who felt that way four years ago would fit into a phone booth, and that’s only because Smart stays in good shape.

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VIDEO: VCU THWARTS CLEVELAND STATE 72-63, CAPS NON-CONFERENCE SLATE

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SHAKA SMART

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