Much of what makes fans watch sports is the allure of the spectacular play.
Watching elite players perform impossible feats of athleticism has always been
a source of excitement and awe in onlookers. Interestingly enough, that same
adulation is sometimes reserved for athletes that aren't so spectacular. For
fans, there is something endearing about a competitor that is not a great athlete,
but is willing to give maximum effort to get every ounce of production out of
what he has. It is sometimes referred to as a "lunch pail mentality."
That label refers to a guy that isn't afraid of putting in a hard days work.
The "Average Joe" can identify with players like that because they
are just like him. That explains why fans of the Maize and Blue hold Graham Brown in such high regard. The Mio native is a player that isn't blessed with
overwhelming athleticism, great size, or a deft shooting touch…yet he
is still productive because of his sheer grit and determination.
Brown did not put
up double doubles every game, and he was not the go-to man in the
clutch...but neither of those things have diminished his value. Those on the
team know that his contributions night in and night out have been significant…even
if they can't be measured with stats. "In my opinion Graham plays well
every game," said Michigan headman Tommy Amaker. "There are times
when he plays better, but I don't think he ever plays poorly. He does too much
for our team. He's too valuable for our ball club in so many many ways. His
leadership, his talk, his toughness, his unselfishness…and that has nothing
to do with numbers. He's always in the middle of something good happening for
our team. He's the guy that makes the pass that leads to an assist for the bucket.
We use him in the middle of the press. He inbounds the ball for us. There are
so many things that he does that gives our team the opportunity to be successful.
He has been our best post defender on the front line. When you go down the list
of things that have nothing to do with some the stats that the majority of people
pay attention to… He's a tough kid, and he's a winner. He's a winner."
"He's a guy that is one of the most unselfish players we have on our team
and in our program," Amaker continued. "Sometimes we think of being
unselfish as just a player who gives up the basketball. But in terms of Graham,
being unselfish is where he gives up his body to take charges and gives up his
body to set screens for his teammates. He's one of the best help defenders we
have in our program. He's one of the most unselfish kids I've had a chance to
coach. He understands, he knows what we want to have happen out there on the
court. He's carved out his niche and his identity."
According to Brown the only purpose for his style of play is winning. If there
is one thing he would like for his fans and teammates to remember about him
after he leaves, that's it. "It's not that I am trying to leave my legacy,
it's just that I'm trying to play as hard as I can every game and that's what
I want my legacy to be," Brown said. "I want people to know that I
left my heart on the floor after every game. That's what I'm going to do…
just go out there and play as hard as I can, show everyone what I have and I'm
going to work with it."