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Scotland’s Graham signs with Hines Prep basketball | Laurinburg Exchange

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LAURINBURG — Being a multisport athlete requires extra time and effort and can be overbearing sometimes.

It doesn’t come without benefits, though — including a higher probability of signing at the next level.

While Scotland’s Johnathon Graham, who plays football and basketball, hasn’t found a college to call home yet, he’s well on his way there after signing to play basketball at Hines Prep Academy — a post-grad program in Charlotte to provide athletes with extra time to get college exposure — Tuesday morning during a ceremony at Scotland.

The program’s athletic director and head coach, Michael Hines, led the effort in recruiting Graham.

“Coach Hines, he said he sees something in me,” Graham said. “So I’m gonna try to work with him, see what I can find that I don’t see.”

“I had him with me this summer,” Hines said. “I took him to all the summer team camps — Wake Forest, Catawba, UNC-Pembroke. And he did well. He’s not ready for Juco or any division right now, but he’s grown. So, when he came into the season, he took on a better role from last year with Tae (Cousar); there were the stars, and he was just a role player. This year, he was a star. So, I came to watch a couple of games, and he did well. Now that he knows that he has the scouts right there in front of him, he’ll do better.”

Graham, a 6-foot-5 forward, averaged 7.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game as a senior with the Fighting Scots and saw improvement in every stat category except blocks (1.7 last year) and turnovers (0.2 last year, 1.2 this year).

Graham also finished with a double-double in six of the final eight games after having just one in the previous 18.

“He developed a ton toward the end of his senior year,” Scotland coach Michael Malpass said. “And I think the difficulty when you have multisport athletes is they go from season to season, and it’s hard to develop if you’re not putting in time. And Johnathon’s such a great kid; he’s always worked. But we’re excited for him because I know Coach Hines; Mike’s a great guy, and he’s a great coach. And we know John’s gonna get a chance to continue to develop, which is key, and get some college credits without losing eligibility.”

”He’s (Malpass) been pushing me to my limit, and he’s been helping me stretch out every position I can fit in,” Graham said.

While Graham didn’t hold any offers to play college basketball, he did have an offer to play football at NCAA Division III Guilford College in Greensboro.

“To me, a lot of people tell me I can’t do stuff, but then coaches help me lift my head up and push me to do better and great things,” Graham said. “So, I believe in it. I try and just focus on what the coaches say and nobody else.”

Graham becomes the first from Scotland to sign to play basketball at the next level this year.

Brandon Hodge is the sports editor for The Laurinburg Exchange. He can be reached at 910-506-3171 or by email at [email protected]. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BrandonHSports.

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