TULSA — Cameerah Graves learned her lesson two years ago during pregame warm-ups.
Her routine included a 1-on-1 session with Edmond Santa Fe teammate and neighbor, Courtney Walker.
Walker, who went on to play at Texas A&M, was on offense and Graves was on defense. But then Walker made a move, infuriating Graves.
“She would do a move on me and make me look stupid and everybody was watching us,” Graves said. “She would put a move on me, but I was like, ‘Yeah, never again.' Now I know.”
But that routine helped Graves improve tremendously and develop into one of the state's top defenders and continue an impressive run of point guards at Edmond Santa Fe. She finished her impressive four-year career Wednesday night in the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State Game at the Mabee Center.
“It (was rewarding) because this year I was named defensive player of the (Metro Athletic Conference),” Graves said of guarding Walker. “I think her being there those years and me having to guard her out of everybody on the team; it helped me in the long run because my defense is pretty (good).”
Graves averaged 3.3 steals and 5.2 assists per game last season while leading the Wolves to the Class 6A state semifinals.
She has signed with Oklahoma Baptist University, where her defensive skills will prove invaluable for the rebuilding program.
“Cameerah is a special player, a special person and is going to be really good at OBU and do really well,” Edmond Santa Fe coach Paul Bass said.
Bass, though, has been fortunate. Graves is the most recent of a long lineage of star point guards to come out of Santa Fe.
Bass started with Christina Yarbrough, who went on to play at Central Oklahoma. Jimi Blagowsky, who plays at Air Force, followed with a stellar career.
Then Graves came along.
“It just seemed to be when that last one would graduate, here come that next one,” Bass said. “I noticed her skill set (early on). She was probably one of the quickest first-step girls I've seen in awhile.”
Now, Santa Fe waits for another point guard to emerge. It's likely the Wolves will find one, just like when Graves burst onto the scene her freshman year.
“When you look around the entire city, you don't see a coach keep getting blessed with players and players,” Graves said. “The point guard is position is one of the most important positions. He's a really lucky guy.”
But replacing Graves' defense will be the biggest challenge.
And perhaps the most important.
“Really, I've got to find a point guard that can defend like her,” Bass said. “One of our strong points is we defend very well and she was probably the best defender we had.”