Vaught's Views: Graves can play golf, too

June 04, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

On the basketball court, David Graves prided himself on his cool demeanor and accurate shooting.

On the golf course, Graves is a bit more reckless and sometimes finds that his long, powerful swing sends the ball a long way - but not in the fairway.

"My golf game has a lot of bad parts," said Graves, a former standout basketball player at Lexington Catholic and then Notre Dame, said. "I do drive the ball pretty well. I have some length and just let it fly. If it is in the short grass (fairway), then I usually do fine. If not, then sometimes I don't do quite as well."

Graves will bring his other shotmaking ability here this weekend to play in the J.E. Butler Memorial at Danville County Club. His athletic ability on the basketball court obviously translates well to his golf game because he has a three handicap.


Of course, since graduating from Notre Dame in 2002, he's had time to work on his golf game once his professional basketball seasons have ended.

"Golf is a hobby," Graves said. "The good thing about being a professional basketball player is that you work six months a year and then can play golf. I have a lot of time to play golf."

Not that he has any false hopes about this weekend's outing. He's coming here to enjoy himself and doesn't foresee any scenario where he would contend for a tournament title.

"I don't take myself too seriously," Graves said. "I just enjoy playing. I am not crazy. I know there will be a lot of golfers better than me."

Lewis thinks Graves will do just fine

Still, former Danvillian Rob Lewis thinks Graves will do just fine. The two have played together often at Lexington Country Club this spring and Lewis invited Graves to play in the tournament here.

"His athleticism carries over to his golf. He's really a good player," Lewis said.

The same is true in basketball. He was one of the state's top players at Lexington Catholic before heading to Notre Dame. Graves scored 1,788 points and ranks among Notre Dame's top 10 all-time scorers. He's the career leader in 3-point goals made, steals and games played.

"I exceeded all my expectations. I never thought I would do all I did," Graves said. "I thought I would have a good career, but not one that would put my name in the record books. Even then, I really didn't fully appreciate what I had done until I was gone.

"I had a great career. It was the best four years of my life. Now I'm trying to play basketball as a job and make some money. It's not the same, but you have to have that business mindset at the next level."

He started last season playing in Germany before finishing the season in the CBA, a developmental league for the NBA. He's weighing his options before deciding which NBA team to play for this summer in hopes of earning a roster spot - and hefty paycheck - next season.

"I have a lot of options to sift through," Graves said. "It's hard to prepare for professional basketball coming out of college. You just have to experience it and there are a lot of intangibles out of your control, but it is all worth it. You've just got to take advantage of your opportunities."

Getting the opportunity to play in the NBA is tough

The problem is getting that opportunity. While an invitation from a friend can get you into this weekend's golf tournament here, it takes a lot more to get into the NBA because coaches tend to like players who already have NBA experience.

"It's like a fraternity," Graves said. "The hardest thing is getting in. Once you get in, they take care of you because you have experience. If you have success and prove you can play, then you are going to stick around."

Graves knows he has to show NBA coaches he can play perimeter defense against the quick, agile NBA players this summer to earn a roster spot. However, he thinks he answered some of those questions during his CBA play.

"I think I did a good job defensively in the CBA. Now I just have to carry that over, and maybe even do a little better," Graves said.

But that's in the future. This weekend Graves will be here to test the Danville Country Club course. He'll be in the same group with Lewis Saturday and even though he's never played the course, don't be stunned if his shotmaking is as good as it was when he created havoc for Notre Dame opponents.

"You always worry about your professional future," Graves said. "This weekend, though, I'm just a golfer and no different from every other player in the tournament. This is my time to have fun and if I can hit a few big shots, then it's even more fun."

Central Kentucky News Articles