Jerome’s closer to NBA dream

A young Caymanian is on his way to
Utah to play at the top level of US college basketball and possibly star on
ESPN.

Jerome Graham-Record, 20, will
attend Weber State University this Fall. The 6ft 8in forward hopes to play on
the men’s basketball team for the 2011-2012 season.

“I had it planned to red-shirt and
get in shape for next season,” Graham-Record said. “Next year, all goes well;
I’ll get a full athletic scholarship for basketball. Right now I’m counting
down the days until August 2011, when next season starts.”

Weber State is a National
Collegiate Athletic Association division one basketball school which competes
in the Big Sky conference. For the last two years the team competed in the
National Invitational Tournament. The school is known for memorable upsets in
the NCAA tournament including knocking off schools like Michigan State and
North Carolina.

Assuming Graham-Record makes the
men’s team, it would be the first time a Caymanian has played at a division one
basketball program. In a sense it would be a miracle for the young man, who is
232lbs of pure muscle, to make the squad as he stumbled upon the school.

“A friend of mine introduced me to
Chris Thomas, a personal trainer who lives in Utah. I flew up there to train
with Chris for six weeks. In that time I worked out with Weber State and they
liked what they saw. I applied and I was accepted. This is a tremendous jump
from high school.” Graham-Record, who currently resides in Florida, attended
high school at the St. Lucie West Centennial High School. After that he stayed
a year at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Florida and majored in
Physical Therapy.

Originally his plan was to transfer
to California State University of Bakersfield on a possible full basketball
scholarship this fall. Instead he’ll be going to Weber State, where he intends
to major in Athletic Therapy.

As Graham-Record states, getting a
Bachelor’s degree in sports science is his back-up plan to a budding basketball
career.

“I intend to use the degree to help
injured athletes and help them rehab and use the right therapy. Ideally I’d be
based in the States.”

News of Graham-Record’s acceptance
to Weber State comes a year after he made headlines in Europe. Last summer he
was in Foligno, Italy as part of a United States youth basketball team. At the
time he was 6ft 7in and 210lbs and that stature helped him play a starring role
as he averaged 10 points and seven rebounds, nabbed a plaque for tallying the
most rebounds at the event and propelled the US team to an unblemished mark. It
was quite an achievement for the young man to make the team as he had to try
out in North Carolina.

Interestingly local law firm
Stuarts, Walker and Hersant gave financial assistance for the Italy trip. The
same firm will offset much of his college expenses, committing US$15,000 to the
cost of his education.

Graham-Record is the son of Ansel
and Ann Graham-Record of George Town. He was born and raised in Grand Cayman
and attended Triple C school. From there he moved with his parents (who are
originally from Jamaica) to Port St. Lucie in June 2005.

The young man was here last week
during the Orlando Magic-Cayman Islands Basketball Association basketball camp
at the Arts and Recreation Centre in Camana Bay. He saw about 70 odd kids
between the ages of seven and 17 come out over five days to learn basketball
skills and hear inspirational words from NBA legend Vince Carter.

Graham-Record dreams of
representing Cayman in basketball at the Olympic Games and playing professionally
in Europe and the NBA. Before leaving for the US on Tuesday he had loads of
advice for budding basketball prodigies.

“To the kids I would say be
patient, work hard and make sacrifices. There will be ups and downs but you
have to get past them. Aside from that be positive, stay humble and put God
first. As Philippians 4:13 says I can do all things through Christ that
strengthens me. It’s crucial to me and all the youngsters here to keep God
first and foremost in life.”

SPORTSJeromeNBASTORY.

Graham-Record is about to play in Utah.
Photo: Matthew Yates
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