NAIA honors former AUM star Graham - Montgomery Alabama news.

NAIA honors former AUM star Graham

KANSAS CITY, Mo. ---- Former Auburn University at Montgomery men's basketball standout Orlando Graham was selected one of 75 athletes or coaches selected to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics' (NAIA) 75th Anniversary All-Star Team, the organization announced on Friday. Members of the All-Star Team, which consists of 60 athletes and 15 coaches, have been invited to be a part of the festivities in mid-March at Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City.

Attendees will be recognized with a special reception preceding the National Championship final on March 20 and then introduced at halftime of that contest.

"Orlando Graham arrived at AUM at a time when our basketball program was looking to elevate to the next level," AUM head coach Larry Chapman said. "It was a time when we had many good pieces in place, but lacked a centerpiece. His passion and work ethic, but most of all his coachability, allowed him to make great improvements on both ends of the court. With the group of great youngsters playing with him and his ability to dominant in the paint, we were able to advance to the NAIA National Championship game, only to fall in overtime. Much of the success of the 1987-88 season was due to his passion and affection for his teammates. That would be the reason so many voted him for player of the year. They all knew his presence could not be denied. We here at AUM, and he as well, feel very grateful for the honor being bestowed upon him. His credentials would also reveal he is extremely deserving."

Graham played two seasons at AUM, where he earned First-Team All-America honors and became the first Warhawk to garner the NAIA Player of the Year award, which he accomplished during the 1987-88 season. Graham finished the 1987-88 year with a season school-record 401 rebounds, while adding 645 points, a mark which ranks as the fifth-best season total in school history.

He also ranked in the top 10 in the season record book in 10 other statistical categories during his banner season. Graham also helped the Warhawks to a school-record 32 victories and an appearance in the NAIA National Championship game. He finished his career with averages of 16.4 points per game and a school-best 9.8 rebounds per contest. Graham is one of just two former Warhawks to play professionally in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and one of four AUM men's basketball players to have his jersey retired. He was inducted into the AUM Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011. A special committee of current and former coaches, tournament staff, dedicated media and long-time supporters was created to help with the selection process.

After fans voted on a web site ballot, this committee followed several criteria to select the 75th Anniversary All-Star Team. Criteria included and in no particular order: performance at a national tournament, game statistics, involvement in a national championship-winning team; status on All-Tournament Team and/or Tournament MVP. The NAIA is proud of its 75-year history and the advancement of character-driven intercollegiate athletics.

From the origins in 1937 when Central Missouri State Teacher's College (now University of Central Missouri) won the first title game to the creation of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in 1952, the NAIA has evolved into a membership-driven association. Icons such as John Wooden, Dr. James Naismith, Emil Liston, Travis Grant and Terry Porter have all been an integral part of our history. The National Championship will play out March 14 – 20 from downtown Kansas City, Mo. For tickets, call 816-595-8141.

The tournament is a single-elimination format with 32 teams playing up to five games in six days for a chance at the prized Naismith trophy. The announcement of the championship bracket will occur on March 7 at 6 p.m. CST and will be posted on NAIA

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