- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
The Grahams pushed their children to excel, exposing them to a range of activities and influences. Joey and Stephen embraced music, forming a jazz ensemble that beat 200 other middle school groups in a nationwide competition. (?We started off on drums, then took up piano,? says Joey, who finally settled on alto sax.) They also explored the outdoors, camping on the Appalachian Trail and playing wilderness survival games in which they?d have to find their way out of the woods with nothing but water and a compass. (?It was fun,? Joey says. ?We had to eat the right berries and find our way back.?)
What?s more, the Grahams may be the nation?s only college hoops players whose favorite TV show is Emeril Live. ?We watch it all the time,? says Joey, who was taught how to cook by his grandmother Estell Clausell and has perfected such specialties as golden mushroom chicken, sweet potato pie and his own barbecue sauce. ?Our mom and dad always tried to make sure we had more going on than just basketball,? says Stephen. ?They wanted us to experience as much as possible.? As Joey says, ?I?ll try just about anything once: skydiving, bungee jumping, all that stuff.?
The same approach applied to sports. Early on, the Grahams experimented with everything from football to soccer to swimming. (?I thought we had some future Mark Spitzes,? says Joe.) By the time they got to Brandon ( Fla.) High, though, they had settled on basketball, a journey that has taken them from one Pistol Pete (Maravich, whose camp they attended as ball-spinning 11-year-olds) to another ( Oklahoma State?s hydrocephalic, gun-toting mascot). Together, Joey and Stephen reached the Florida Class 5A title game as seniors, spent two solid years at Central Florida (one of the few schools that would take them in a package deal) and, in 2002, transferred to Stillwater in hopes of greater exposure.
After playing supporting roles behind Allen and point guard John Lucas III in Oklahoma State?s Final Four run last season, the Grahams have joined Lucas as leaders on a team with eight seniors. Every Sunday the twins host a Bible study for teammates that often turns into a rap session. ?We?ll sit in their living room and talk about life,? says Lucas. ?That?s a big reason why we?re so close as a team.?
?They?re so honest and respectful,? says academic adviser Middlebrook, who wears a gift from the Graham brothers to every game--a necklace with a red heart that reads best second mom. ?Joey?s just 10 minutes older, but he acts like the older brother. And Stevie has handled the hoopla around Joey with so much grace.?
?Being on the bench took a toll on me, but I was always rooting Joey on,? says Stephen, who after struggling at times last season was averaging 8.4 points at week?s end. ?Now I feel like I?ve regained my confidence.? They may have had the typical sibling rivalries, but these days the twins are each other?s biggest supporter, sharing the same majors, class schedules and living quarters. Not long ago, Stephen gave Joey a framed poem called Brotherhood, which they hung on their living room wall:
He shares the same dreams and vision
Stands by you in the strongest
wind without fears
He is Brother