Varsity boys’ basketball coach Erick Graves ‘brings people together’

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Photo courtesy Erick Graves

Varsity boys’ basketball Coach Erick Graves

Coach Erick Graves finishes his pregame speech to his team and watches them lace up their sneakers for a pivotal regular season game. He knows the stakes are high, but how well can they do against the best basketball teams in the state?

Coach Graves may be known as the coach of Patriots, but his career resume is filled with much more than that. He is the co-founder of the Maryland Basketball Academy summer camps and has coached 19 Division 1 players at Montrose Christian School, including one Jordan All-American.

He played basketball throughout high school and began his coaching career at a young age. He’s always had a passion for teaching the next generation of high school superstars. ​“Once I started working with kids and seeing their growth, I was hooked,”​ Graves said.

He wasn’t just great with the clipboard, but was also great with the ball in his hands as well. ​“I played through high school. I first started assistant coaching when I was 16 with my younger sister’s teams,” ​Graves said.

As his playing days ended, his coaching journey was just beginning.​“Then I got into coaching at the high school level when I was 21 as an assistant. That led to a JV head coaching job,”​ Graves said.

As his presence became felt in the basketball world, his next stop was Montrose Christian Private School. After much success with players there, he moved onto where he is now. No matter where he’s been, he’s had the same mindset both in terms of skill and personal bonding. In terms of player skill, he knows everyone brings something different to the table. ​“How can we take all these pieces to a moving puzzle and bring them together…as long as each player is putting in the effort we will grow as a team,”​ Graves said.

The relationships are what I really enjoy. I truly believe in investing the person, not just the player”

— Erick Graves, coach

In terms of bonding, he believes his kids are more than just basketball players and treat them as such. “The relationships are what I really enjoy. I truly believe in investing the person, not just the player,” ​Graves said.

His impact has reached way beyond the court as well. Even ordinary students who don’t play basketball for the team still feel the impact he’s had. One of those people is softball player Lizzie Nelson. ​“I think he really cares about them and he really likes the sport,​ ​he seems like a nice guy,” Nelson said.

Coach Maggie Dyer of the girls’ varsity basketball team and Graves are similar in how they do their jobs both on and off the court. ​“Coach Dyer and Coach Graves both get very in the heat of the moment during games, it can get super intense”​ Nelson said. ​“I know that Dyer is super close with all the girls and really cares about their life beyond the court, always checking in.”

Anyone who knows Graves just a little would know he cares just as much about his players’ personal lives as he does their athletic ones. Despite all his accomplishments in basketball, he is actually motivated by something much more personal and long lasting. “I love the bond with the coaches, teammates, and players,” Graves said. “​The competitive aspect of athletics brings people together.”