Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Jamie Graham could help two UCLA teams
By Peter Yoon
Jamie Graham, a transfer from Vanderbilt, dressed and practiced with the UCLA football team for the first time Tuesday after he cleared the UCLA admissions process.
Graham, a defensive back with one year of eligibility remaining, will not have to sit out because he graduated from Vanderbilt and enrolled as a graduate student at UCLA. He's expected to add depth at cornerback--one of UCLA's thinnest positions--and was already getting reps with the second team in his first practice.
But Graham is a multi-talented athlete who played defensive back, receiver, running back and quarterback in his time with the Commodores.
"He's a quality young player," coach Rick Neuheisel said.
He's also a quality basketball player who spent two years as a reserve guard with the Commodores' basketball team. The Bruins could be quite thin at point guard this season with Jerime Anderson's status in question after his arrest last month for theft.
And Graham was known for his tenacious defense on the basketball court, which is exactly the type of player Bruins basketball coach Ben Howland likes.
"You know something if [Howland] comes and calls and tells me he wants me to play backup point guard, I promise you I would," Graham said.
Graham gave up basketball because he wanted to focus on football, but now that he's at a school with a rich basketball history, Graham said he'd be willing to give it a shot if he still has basketball eligibility remaining.
"We can definitely do research on that and figure it out," he said. "If it’s possible, I’ll definitely do it. If I have an extra year, after football if the NFL thing doesn’t work out I would love to play basketball for UCLA."
As to whether or not he thinks he can still hold his own against Division I point guards, Graham has no doubt.
"I can definitely defend a one," he said. "Any point guard that wants it, I promise you I can definitely give them a run for their money."
Here is Graham talking about his decision to come to UCLA after also considering Western Michigan and Southern: