By Ralphine Major

Another member of the 1964-65 Gibbs basketball team that played a big part in the success of the team is Mike Graves.  Focus readers may remember reading about Mike earlier in this series.  Mike’s brother, Ron Graves, was a senior starter for the ‘64-65 Eagles.  Last year, the brothers appeared in a picture with their mother, Virginia, in a Focus column featuring Ron.  Sadly, Virginia passed away earlier this year.  It was a special moment last fall to see this 86-year-old mother attend the ball team’s reunion with both of her sons in the high school gym where they once played.

Mike was a junior on Coach Bob Dagley’s ‘64-65 team.  The former coach remembers No. 41:  “Mike was used mainly as a forward, but he was used as a center also.”  Dagley recalls that when Graves played at center, he had to give up any height advantage he had.  “But, Mike was a hustler and could come up with his share of rebounds,” the coach said.  “He played well around the goal and many of his shots came from rebounds or loose balls he picked up.  Mike had a good shot, and he was steady and dependable,” the former Eagles’ coach added.  It was this type of talent and hard work that lifted Dagley’s Eagles to a 31-2 winning season.  So outstanding was the record that one Gibbs graduate who was a freshman in ‘64-65 told how he had never made a scrapbook—until that year!

Mike is married to the former Karen Leming.  They never attended Gibbs at the same time due to age differences, but met at Powell at a basketball game between Gibbs and Powell.  The couple began dating in June after Karen graduated and were married the following June.  I remember Karen from our days in the high school band; she played the flute, and I was on oboe.  Though I had not met Mike until the ball team’s reunion last fall, I knew his late brother, Danny; and my family knew his parents, the late Clay and Virginia Graves.  My brother and I got pet rabbits from Graves’ Rabbitry.