Jon Graham has the most animated facial expressions on the basketball court. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
Jon Graham was expected to be a big part of this team's future after Ed DeChellis claimed he had all-conference potential. Using his redshirt year to put on muscle, Graham matured into a legitimate 6'8" 240 pound post player. But as we saw this season, especially at the start, Graham was very raw and nowhere near the caliber of a starting Big Ten player, let alone all-conference. After a bout with mono sidelined him for a month, Graham starting to make noticeable improvement in February during the dog days of Big Ten season. It was enough to earn him the Most Improved Player award at the hoops banquet.
The best part of Jon's game is still his size and athleticism. He's not particularly long and doesn't have much vertical bounce, but he's agile around the basket and capable of running the floor. He's not afraid to mix it up inside either, and he's one of the hardest workers on the team. This year he showed an ability to finish with either hand around the tin even through contact. He also flashed some potential with pick-and-roll situation, as he rarely was whistled for illegal screens. Defensively Jon posted the highest block percentage on the team at 6.1% and had six games of 2 or more blocks.
While it was just his first year of college basketball, his shooting percentages were poor, especially from the foul line. For a guy who didn't show much range outside of 8-feet, 45% from the field isn't going to be effective in this offense. However, 40% from the foul line is an absolute liability. His two missed free throws at the end of the Northwestern loss were huge. Jon also struggled with turnovers when he got the ball in the paint. He finished the year with a 23.7% TO%, which were mostly due to traveling calls. He had a bad habit of shuffling his feet when initiating his post moves.
vs. Iowa - 10 points (3-3 FG, 4-4 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 blocks
Jon was perfect from the field and hit two huge foul shots down the stretch that sealed a 69-64 win for the Lions over the Hawkeyes.
Looking ahead, Jon's physical attributes give hope for the future. He has the work ethic and hoops IQ to develop his skills and become a great post player for this team. Obviously much of his game needs refined, especially his shooting, but there's no reason to think he can't be developed. How much he can improve in one offseason remains to be seen, but if he can fine-tune his footwork and develop some chemistry off the pick-and-roll with the backcourt in the motion offense, hopefully he can fill a similar role that Jordan Morgan gives Michigan.
Final Grade: C