It wasn't the best game of Devonte Graham's career, but it wasn't the last one, either. And the long journey that took him from Raleigh to Kansas has more time to run.
On his final try with the Jayhawks, Graham will finally play in his first Final Four, having lost regional finals the past two years. He had a quiet 11 points as Kansas outlasted Duke for an 85-81 overtime win on Sunday, but five years after graduating from Broughton High School, Graham will wrap up his college career on the biggest stage of all.
“It's hard to describe, man,” Graham said. “You know, the last two years, it's just like you said, it's heartbreaking. And you come back and you get another shot at it again and you lose again and then you come back and you're in the same game.”
This time, Kansas was able to get to the Final Four for the first time since 2012, when the Jayhawks beat North Carolina in St. Louis in the regional final. Graham, along with Malik Newman, was one of two Kansas players named to the all-regional team.
It's the culmination of a long odyssey for Graham, from overlooked recruit at Broughton to a year in prep school before Applachian State would release him from his letter of intent to his four years at Kansas filled with regular-season success but, until Sunday, always postseason frustration.
“That's what you come here for, to play in those moments,” Graham said, and there are more moments to come for him.
Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, firstname.lastname@example.org, @LukeDeCock