Ivy 60 for 60: Butch Graves

Butch Graves averaged 20.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in his four years with Yale, finishing with 2,090 points for his career, third all-time in Ivy League history behind only Bill Bradley and Jim Barton. (Yale Athletics)
Butch Graves averaged 20.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in his four years with Yale, finishing with 2,090 points for his career, third all-time in Ivy League history behind only Bill Bradley and Jim Barton. (Yale Athletics)

Following our countdown of the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s men’s basketball history this summer, Ivy Hoops Online is delighted to continue celebrating the 60th anniversary of modern Ivy League basketball by honoring the top 60 players in Ivy hoops history (in no particular order):

In the early 1980s, if your team was not known as the Quakers or the Tigers, the Ivy was a one-star league. That is, the other six teams usually had one serviceable, if not transcendent, star player who needed to be dealt with lest your ‘P’ suffer a humbling and humiliating loss.  Butch Graves was Yale’s transcendent star from 1980 to 1984.

The lithe 6’3” shooting guard from Scarsdale, N.Y. remains Yale’s all-time leading scorer having poured in 2,090 points and is one of only four Ivy players to score over 2000 points. Although Mr. Graves holds several other Yale hoops records (field goals made and attempted), I remember the 1984 team captain for one singular sporting moment.

On a cold Saturday afternoon at the Palestra, the home crowd was getting restless while the Quakers gave the boys from New Haven their requisite pounding. Then late in the second half, when the game was already far out of reach for the Elis, Butch Graves showed why he is one of the Ivy League’s all-time greats.  Streaking up the Cathedral’s home sideline on a fastbreak towards the hoop, Graves waved for the ball. As he took off from what seemed like a mile from the basket, he caught a perfect alley-oop pass with his left hand. Then, while still airborne, he gracefully shifted the ball to his right for one of most incredible dunks I have ever seen, college or pro. Realizing that it had just witnessed something truly special, the jaded Penn crowd stood and appreciatively applauded their opponent.

You just had to see it.

 

Stay Red & Blue my friends,

The AQ

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