Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Graham: UC Team Best He's Coached

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Graham: UC Team Best He's Coached

Article excerpt

Byline: Chase Goodbread, Times-Union sports writer

Go ahead and mark this year's University Christian basketball team as the best in school history. At least the foremost authority on such a title, coach Bob Graham, believes it.

The Southside private school had been to the regional championship round only twice before this season, and Graham was the head coach of one (1999) and an assistant on the other (1994).

"I can't say this team had more talent, because that '99 team had more, but in terms of character and playing to the team's potential, this is the best I've been around," said Graham.

The Christians' season ended in front of a standing-room-only gym at UC on Saturday night, falling to Hawthorne, 74-71. Without a true center on the roster, UC posted a school-record .896 winning percentage (26-3) and tied the school record for victories.

Two more baskets would have sent the Christians to the first final four in school history, but Graham has no regrets.

"They achieved everything and more than they should have," said the 10th-year head coach. "We're not Raines or Ribault, but we've been to the playoffs five years in a row now, and it's not easy to hold together. It can take years to build a program, but you can lose it overnight."

Offers mounting: Colleges often wait until spring football practice before making scholarship offers to upcoming seniors, but most are beating the rush to offer Sandalwood running back Maurice Wells. Saints coach Adam Geis said Southern Cal, Ohio State, Florida State and Georgia are among the top programs to offer last year's area rushing champion (3,075 yards) so far.

"Ohio State and Southern Cal told us they won't recruit another running back in the class if Maurice comes," Geis said. "Georgia just offered Friday. The only big school that hasn't offered is Florida, and I don't think Maurice is interested in Florida anyway."

. . . Scholarship attention for Raines basketball star Derwin Kitchen also is heating up. Interested schools include Wake Forest, Florida, Florida State and Kansas.

Rebels wrestling: Forrest High posted the best showing in school history at the Class A state wrestling finals, placing fourth with eight qualifying wrestlers. …

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