PHOENIX — In an event not typically known for its drama and excitement, Arizona State Sun Devils senior Torian Graham was able to provide a bit of both for fans at Thursday’s college three-point shooting championships.
Held inside of Grand Canyon University Arena, with the majority of the sellout crowd wearing Grand Canyon purple and a full student section sitting courtside, Graham got to play the role of villain as he was paired up with Antelope guard DeWayne Russell in the event’s opening round.
And while he may not have been able to advance out of that first round, he did have fun going up against the the hometown favorite.
“I had a chance to ruin their day,” said Graham afterwards. “So that was cool. It was a really fun atmosphere.”
Graham finished his night with 13 points, coming up short of advancing to the contest’s semifinal round.
“It was still a good experience,” Graham said when asked about his performance. “It was a blessing to be a part of an event like this.”
The event was Graham’s final one in a Sun Devil uniform.
The shooting guard will select an agent next week and officially turn professional ahead of this summer’s NBA Draft. There was a small chance the Buffalo transfer could have returned to Arizona State after applying for a hardship waiver from the NCAA, but Graham opted to not go down that route.
“I’d love one more year in Tempe,” says Graham. “But it’s time to go.”
Iowa’s Peter Jok ultimately won the men’s title on Thursday, much to the dismay of the large Grand Canyon fanbase. He outscored Russell in the final by a score of 20-16.
“I wasn’t surprised because they do that every time they come here,” Russell said when asked about the rowdy Antelope fans. “I think we have one of the best (student sections) in the country.”
Two other individual championship events were held at GCU Arena as a part of Thursday’s show.
Kansas State’s Kindred Wesemann took home the women’s three-point title, while Georgetown guard Rodney Pryor capped the evening with a win in the slam dunk contest.