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Brotherhood on the Basketball Court

Aubree Pelon, Journalist

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Coach Graham giving brother, Daniel Hernandez, some coaching advice before the game.

You may know of the varsity coach of the boys’ basketball team and former Ripon High School basketball star, Justin Graham. He’s a great guy who is dedicated and passionate about the sport. Graham played basketball at San Jose State and even played in other countries such as Italy, Slovakia, New Zealand and Hungary. In addition to being a yoga instructor, he is now a full-time Special Education math teacher at Ripon High, along with being the basketball coach. He’s a man of many titles, but to one RHS basketball player, he is  “brother”.

Daniel Hernandez, a sophomore, plays on the varsity basketball boys’ team for the 2017-2018 high school season. Hernandez has been playing basketball for nearly ten years now. This was Hernandez’s first year playing at the varsity level, which was already overwhelming and exciting enough, but having your brother be your coach added the cherry on top.

I just want to beat every record you have. That’s my goal. ”

— Danny Hernandez

Hernandez enjoys his brother being his coach on many different levels. Coach Graham can say the same as well, when it comes to coaching Daniel. Graham mentioned during our interview that coaching Hernandez made it easier for him to sit down and watch some film together since he knows where he is at all times. Something else that was also stated is that the two are a bit more comfortable with one another when it comes to either being a player or coach.

“I feel like you trust me more. I feel like I know what you want”, Hernandez said to Graham during their interview.

“Living together, being a family, he has an idea of what’s being asked of me. Just have a little bit of comfort-ability,” Coach Graham responded when asked the question of bringing brotherhood into basketball.

Daniel Hernandez drives the ball into the key during a screen play.

Some might initially feel as if Coach Graham plays Hernandez during games only because he’s his brother, however that is not the case. He coaches Hernandez just like any other player. 

“The perception. Say ‘Oh you only play Danny because he’s your brother’. My philosophy is I don’t care who’s on the court. Brother, girl, I just want to win,” said Graham

When it comes to Hernandez and his future, he has high hopes of accomplishing his goals, “I just want to beat every record you have. That’s my goal, ” he teased. 

Coach Graham’s RHS records include 62 steals in one season, 142 assists in one season, and 46 dunks in his career at RHS. All of these are dared to be beaten by his little brother. Like his big brother, Hernandez wants to continue to play basketball and would gladly accept a scholarship to college if given the opportunity.

Graham has one more record under his belt. When played on the 2004-2005 RHS varsity basketball team, they won 18 games in a row. This year’s varsity basketball team won 14 games in a row as of Saturday, February 10th. Come support RHS as Graham, Hernandez, and the rest of the varsity team attempt to defeat that record. 

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