MOULTRIE — For a superb high school athlete in Doerun in the mid-1960s, there were few options.

No football. No soccer. No wrestling.

There was baseball at Doerun High, but that was not to Alex McGraw’s liking. He preferred a bigger round ball.

“I played basketball 24/7, 365 days a year,” McGraw said recently after his selection to the Colquitt County Sports Hall of Fame. “I played basketball year-round.”

And those hours in the gymnasium certainly paid off.

McGraw scored 2,297 points in his career at Doerun High and as senior in 1965 was named to the All-State All-Classification team and was selected as an honorable mention high school All-American by Coach and Athlete Magazine.

“He was the best basketball player to come out of Colquitt County,” says Billy Mock, McGraw’s coach at Doerun High. “I never saw one I thought was any better.”

Doerun High had been a state girls basketball power for a number of years under the direction of McGraw’s next-door neighbor, head coach J.C. Fincher.

But McGraw and Mock helped lead the Deers to prominence in the 1964-1965 season.

McGraw had a fine supporting cast that season, with Donnie Henry, Johnny Oliver, C.C. Phillips, Johnny Cooper, Raye Barfield and Bennie Bullard helping the Deers pile up the victories.

Inevitably nicknamed “Quick Draw,” McGraw scored more than 1,600 points his final two seasons and had 873 for a 28.8 scoring average as a senior.

As an underclassman, he played guard could score from anywhere on the court with an outstanding jump shot.

When Mock moved him inside, he continued to score, but at 6-foot-2, was able to use his size on the boards and became a fine rebounder.

McGraw played recreation basketball in Moultrie and began playing on the Doerun High varsity as a freshman.

That first season, he scored 230 points. As a sophomore, he poured in 438. He began to get people’s attention as a junior when he scored 756 points.

As a senior, he made a run at 1,000 points, scoring 802 during the regular season.

In the Region 1C East  tournament, he scored 26 in the Deers opening-game victory over Georgia Christian. He added 24 in a loss to Hahira, then finished his career with 21 in a 55-52 loss to Attapulgus in the Region 1C tournament in Thomasville. The Deers finished 25-6.

His best night of the season came in a 92-50 victory over Central of Thomasville, when he scored a career-high 45. He also scored 41 points and grabbed 26 rebounds when the Deers defeated cross-country rival Norman Park — which boasted a pair of outstanding players itself in Terry Baker and Tony Purvis — 89-77.

The accolades began to roll in following the season.

The Moultrie Observer selected him as its Colquitt County Player of the Year and the center on its All-County team and The University of Georgia’s Coliseum Club named him to its fourth annual, 10-player All-State All-Classification team.

McGraw also was selected for the South team for the North-South All-Star basketball game that was played in August 1965 at the Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

And he also became the first Colquitt County basketball player to receive national recognition when the Coach and Athlete Magazine included him on its All-American team.

Those selected to the All-America team are chosen on academic, as well as basketball, performance. McGraw was Doerun High’s salutatorian in 1965, graduating with an average of 96.8.

McGraw received offers from Vanderbilt, Georgia and The Citadel, but decided against playing at the college level.

“In all honesty, I was burnt out at that point,” he said.

He went to the University of Georgia, but, coming from a community of 1,200 people, said he wasn’t ready for a school with 12,000 students. McGraw went on to study at Norman College and Valdosta State.

“Sometimes I regret that I didn’t play big-time basketball,” he said.

He continued to play recreation basketball as an adult and considered going into coaching.

Instead, he went on to become a vice president for a property management firm and more recently in real estate in the Atlanta area.

“I have four children and one more to educate and then I am going to retire,” he said.

 

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