It’s all about team for Stone Gra­ham Craft

The Catoosa County News - - WOR­SHIP DI­REC­TORY - By Scott Herpst

Just one day after signing Ridge­land’s Eric Byrd, Ge­or­gia North­west­ern head coach David Stephen­son dipped back into Walker County to pick up an­other re­cruit in LaFayette se­nior Stone Gra­ham.

Gra­ham was one of just two se­niors on the Ram­blers’ Re­gion 6-AAAA cham­pi­onship squad that made a run all the way to the Class 4A Elite Eight this past sea­son.

He said he was grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity to con­tinue his play­ing ca­reer at the next level.

“I got the op­por­tu­nity so I took it,” he said. “It means a lot to me. This is an­other great op­por­tu­nity that I’ve had in my life. (LaFayette head coach) Hank (Pep­pers) helped me out a whole lot through all of this and I’ve had great team­mates. I’m re­ally thank­ful and blessed to be in this spot.”

“From a play­ing per­spec­tive, Stone is a re­ally good player,” Pep­pers said. “He can slash to the bas­ket, he fin­ished a lot of games for us and helped us in big mo­ments. He’s only been play­ing or­ga­nized bas­ket­ball for about a year-and-a-half, so his best bas­ket­ball is still ahead of him. I think he’s go­ing to be a steal. He has tremen­dous up­side and he’s a gym­rat, so he puts in the work.”

“I bring what I put on the table,” Gra­ham added. “I just bring as much as I can and I want to work hard to put even more on the table.”

Pep­pers said that one of the things that set Gra­ham apart is his un­selfish na­ture.

“I’ve never coached any­one with a bet­ter at­ti­tude than Stone,” Pep­pers con­tin­ued. “He’s a true team-first player and he’s will­ing to fill what­ever role is nec­es­sary to help the team win. Plus, he’s happy to do that and he em­braces it.

“He’s been a bless­ing cham­pi­onship.”

The younger Craft said sac­ri­fices are a nec­es­sary part of what it takes to be con­sid­ered an elite wrestler and a leader for his team.

“It’s im­por­tant to show lead­er­ship,” he ex­plained. “Grif­fin and I are both good lead­ers on our teams and I know we both put in a lot of hard work. You have to go places and be will­ing to do things. I think that’s why we do so well.

“You have to be will­ing to give up your time and catch up on any school­work you might miss. You have to cut weight when you don’t want to and you have to go places when

you could just be at home, sit around and be lazy. In­stead you go out and try to get bet­ter.”

Craft is get­ting it done in the class­room, as well as on the mat. A two-time Her­itage team scholar-ath­lete, he sports a 4.0 grade point av­er­age.

He will take a ca­reer record of 139-48 into his se­nior year and knows he will have a tar­get on his back ev­ery time he takes to the mat next sea­son.

“You just have to step out on that mat ev­ery sin­gle time, no mat­ter who you’re wrestling, and just go out and wres­tle your best,” he added. “You have to give it all you can give be­cause you never know, you might get beat on any given day.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.