Dewanna King says there was good reason her son, Kansas guard Devonté Graham, announced he was returning to KU on Sunday: It marked three years to the day since he was released from his original letter-of-intent from Appalachian State.
“Today has significant meaning behind it in my eyes,” King told the Star by phone. “We went through a lot to get him there, so he’s going to make it back for four years.”
Graham, a junior, announced on his Twitter account Sunday afternoon that he would be returning to KU for his senior season. He had been listed as a potential second-round pick at DraftExpress.com.
The timing of the announcement was a point of discussion between mother and son. Graham, who told KU coach Bill Self on Friday that he would be returning, originally thought about disclosing his decision Tuesday at the team’s postseason banquet.
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He later decided against that.
“I know he’s in the public eye a lot, but he’s still not one to really speak,” King said. “You probably can’t tell that, because his personality draws people to him, but he does things because he kind of knows it’s the right thing to do or what he needs to do. But he really doesn’t care for the attention.”
After Graham decided a social media post would be easier, King suggested that he do it Sunday because of the anniversary date.
The 3:28 p.m. Twitter post received more than 4,000 retweets in the first four hours.
King said she and her son had talked many times about his future in the past two weeks.
“I think he knew all along he wanted to come back,” King said. “Our discussion back and forth mostly was about whether he wanted to test the waters — if he’s going to test the waters or not test it and come back.”
Graham had the option to declare for the NBA Draft without hiring an agent. If he had done that, he still could have returned to KU after receiving more information from NBA workouts.
“A couple of conversations were whether you go and test when he knows he’s going to come back anyways,” King said. “Some of the feedback from coach (Self) was kind of like, ‘If he goes and tests, he needs to be all in and not on the fence about if he wants to come back.’ (Devonté) knew he wanted to come back to school, so that was really the only decision.”
King said there was one other benefit to Graham returning for his fourth and final college year: “I get to see my baby walk across that stage.”
That — along with Graham being happy with his decision — was enough to put King in good spirits Sunday.
“I think really for him it’s having his last year to ... not really be a kid, but to be in college,” King said, “and just live his life instead of rushing into what’s in the world.”