The 6-foot-7, 205-pound Graves notified Mountaineers Coach Robert Burke of his decision on Oct. 22, one day after returning from his official visit to the school’s campus in Emmitsburg, Md.
With offers from Manhattan and Longwood also on the table as well as expressed interest from several other Division 1 programs, Graves elected to go with a program that expressed interest in using both his inside skills and developing perimeter game.
But the timing was right for Graves, who can now shift his attention to leading the Panthers in their defense of back-to-back Virginia AA Division 4 championships.
“Everything just seemed right,” Hawes said. “He had some pretty good interest from other schools but in the end, Mount St. Mary’s just kept coming back.
“They saw him in July and really loved him then, and from that moment on, they really turned the heat on.”
Graves averaged career highs in points (15.6) and rebounds (9.5) his junior season and posted double figures in both in all three of the Panthers state tournament games last fall.
“The coaching staff said they can see me playing a lot of the 3-4 spot,” Graves said. “They have high hopes for me and they’ve said they can really see my game progressing as I get more experienced.
“Their interest in me was high from the start, and when I took my visit I really felt like I was able to connect with the players and the coaches. And it’s also a plus that it’s close enough that my family and friends will be able to come see me play.”
Potomac Falls graduated 10 seniors last spring and the Panthers expect Graves to be a leader on both ends of the floor in his final season in Sterling.
“I wanted to go ahead and get this process out of the way before the season started,” Graves said. “Now the pressure is off my back and I can just relax and play basketball.”
Graves plans to sign his National Letter of Intent on Nov. 9, the first initial signing date in basketball’s early signing period, Hawes said.
The Mountaineers finished 11-21 last season and tied for seventh in the Northeast Conference.