Treveon Graham’s comeback to USA Basketball is a tale of perseverance and grit
When Treveon Graham last played for USA Basketball, he ruptured his Achilles playing for the USA Men’s AmeriCup Qualifying Team. The injury occurred in February of 2021 against the Bahamas in Puerto Rico, in the second quarter after Graham had played just 11 minutes.
Fast forward two years and Graham is making his USA comeback after an arduous journey.
“It's not easy, definitely,” Graham said. “To be able to do something every day and then to not be able to do it for almost two years, it’s definitely hard.”
Graham, however, is no stranger to overcoming injuries. An ankle injury kept him out of a large part of the 2014-15 college basketball season at VCU. During his time with the Brooklyn Nets in 2018-19 , a hamstring injury forced him to sit out for two months.
The impact of these injuries on Graham’s mental health has not gone unnoticed by his family members. Their support and motivation kept him going through the toughest stretches.
“I have a good circle around me,” Graham said. “I had my wife with me, my best friends and my family. I kept them real close to me. And whenever they saw me kind of get down on myself they made sure to pick me back up. So just having the right circle around you and making sure you never give up on yourself.”
Graham’s impact on the court has been nothing but inspirational. At VCU, he left ranked second in career points and was a two-time Atlantic 10 All-Conference first team member. Also widely known for his defensive approach, Graham believes communication is key to his success.
“My thing is communicating and making sure everybody on the floor is in the right spot,” Graham explained. “Making sure that we move, move and sync. That's basically what defense is. It's a technique and everybody's moving with each other. Playing with aggression and instinct.”
Now Graham is gearing up with the USA Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team for the sixth and final window of games. A successful week will see the USA qualify for the 2023 FIBA Men’s World Cup. To qualify, the USA has to take care of business against Uruguay and Brazil.
As for his role in the team, Graham realizes that as a veteran, with NBA and NBA G League experience, his job is ever-evolving.
“I have learned to become more of a leader on my own accord,” Graham said. “Vocally, winning, figuring out how to win, learning the FIBA game as you play overseas and being able to learn how to grow. And most importantly, just wanting to do what I need to do so we can win.”
While Graham’s road hasn’t been smooth sailing, the learnings on the way have been immense. His message for young athletes grappling with injuries is simple: never give up on the process.
“Keep working , never giving up and making sure that you're stronger than when you started,” Graham stated. “You need to make sure that you don't just focus on that one energy or one part of your body but work on your whole body.”
The U.S. will be in action on Feb. 23 at 7:10 p.m. ET as they take on Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay. The second game of the window is against Brazil on Feb. 26 at 7:10 p.m. ET in Santa Cruz do Sul, Brazil. The games will stream live and for free in the U.S. to Courtside 1891 subscribers.