Once again, the NCAA delivered the Maryland men’s basketball team good news two days before its season opener. Junior forward Jon Graham, who transferred from Penn State in late August, was ruled immediately eligible on Wednesday night after the NCAA approved his legislative relief waiver. Graham will be available when the Terrapins face 19th-ranked Connecticut at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Friday night.
“Anything in life, when there’s something going on that’s important and you don’t know the result, your natural reaction is to feel nervous,” Graham said at media day in early October. “My mind-set at this point is it’s out of my hands. We’ve done everything we can on our end. It’s up to the board to make the decision.”
Now Graham can enjoy suiting up for Maryland, rather than spending the season ineligible per NCAA transfer rules. Last season, Graham’s current roommate Dez Wells underwent a similar scenario, when he too received a transfer waiver on the Wednesday before the team’s first game.
“We’re excited for Jonathan that he is immediately eligible for the upcoming season,” Coach Mark Turgeon said in a statement. “Our administration did an outstanding job working diligently on Jonathan’s behalf.”
The 6-feet-8 son of Terps legend Ernie Graham, who still owns the program’s single-game scoring record, Jon Graham played in 31 games as a sophomore for the Nittany Lions, averaging just 1.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. Though Turgeon’s rotation contains just two true posts in center Shaquille Cleare and forward Charles Mitchell, Graham is unlikely to crack the regular rotation. He has not participated in any preseason scrimmages or exhibitions, though he did play during Maryland Madness at Cole Field House.
“Naturally I’m a competitor,” Graham said at media day. “I want to play. I’m not going to say I’m going to be 100 percent cool with not playing. But at the same time, like I said, it’s out of my hands. I try not to talk about it too much. I’m focusing on what’s going on right now. I’m enjoying being here.”