Appalachian State denies Graham’s request for release

jgiglio@newsobserver.comSeptember 27, 2013 

Devonte’ Graham wants to play college basketball, he just doesn’t want to play for Appalachian State.

Graham, a 6-foot-1 point guard who led Broughton High to the N.C. 4A championship game last season, committed to Appalachian State last November but has since asked for his release.

The school has denied that request and has left the future of Graham, who has enrolled at a prep school in New Hampshire, in limbo.

“I just want to be released so I can move forward with my recruiting progress and focus on my future,” Graham wrote in a text message Friday night.

Appalachian State athletics director Charlie Cobb and basketball coach Jason Capel did not comment Friday but the school issued a statement from “Appalachian State Athletics” about Graham’s situation Friday afternoon. The statement claimed other schools from “power conferences” have made illegal contact with Graham since he signed his letter of intent last November.

“Due to our concerns that these rules were not followed and the fact that we had turned away all other potential student-athletes that could have capably filled his spot on the roster, we denied his request for a release from his binding Letter of Intent,” the statement from ASU read.

According to a source-based ESPN report, N.C. State is one of the schools that has tampered with Graham. Graham was teammates at Broughton with Cameron Gottfried, the son of N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried.

Graham said Friday he has not had any contact with any of N.C. State’s coaches.

Appalachian State does not name N.C. State in its statement but it does say that it has contacted the NCAA about the issue with Graham.

Chris Boyer, N.C. State’s senior associate athletic director, said Friday that his school has not been contacted by the NCAA about Graham.

Graham averaged 16 points last season for the Caps and had 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the state title game against Charlotte Olympic.

His stock rose after a strong senior season with Broughton. He said Friday he first told Appalachian State’s Capel in February that he wanted to be released from his letter of intent. He informed the school again in May he was interested in playing for a different college program.

“I just wanted to see what other opportunities were out there for me,” Graham wrote in a text message on Friday.

Graham has reportedly drawn interest from Butler, Creighton, Providence and Pittsburgh but can’t be recruited until he’s released by Appalachian State.

Graham has enrolled at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. His hope is the situation will be worked out before the 2014-15 season.

In its statement, Appalachian State said it believes it’s acting “in the best interests of all student-athletes and Division I programs” in honoring the principle of the National Letter of Intent.

Graham would likely lose at least one season of eligibility if he does not get the release from ASU.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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