When Robbie Graham was hired to coach the George Rogers Clark girls basketball team last spring, no one was more excited than his daughter, Lexxus Graham.
For Lexxus, a junior point guard, it was a dream come true to play for her father, and she hasn’t noticed any difference on the court.
“It’s been the same,” she said. “He’s just like a regular coach. At home, he’s dad and in the gym, he’s the coach.”
Lexxus has played under her dad on the AAU circuit, but this is her first full season in the prep ranks. The past engagement has made it an easier transition for both father and daughter.
“I get after her like I do everyone else and when we leave the gym, it’s over,” Robbie said. “We don’t go home and talk about it unless she asks me some questions about it and wants to talk about it. She’s one of the 18 girls in the locker room and I’m always going to be her dad, but I’m her coach when we’re in the gym and I’m dad at home.”
Off the court, Robbie sets aside his whistle and clipboard to spend time with his family and daughter.
“We laugh, talk and watch movies together,” he said. “We hang out. We talk a little basketball, because she loves the game as much as I do. It’s not as coach and player, it’s dad and daughter and that’s different.”
Lexxus added that she looks up to her father on the court and especially at home.
“He’s a good father and a good role model,” Lexxus said. “He’s a leader, he’s a good christian man and it helps me in my everyday life, my school life and basketball life.”
On the court, however, Lexxus gets the same coaching treatment Robbie gives the rest of the team.
“She knows I’m demanding, not just of her, but everybody,” he said.
Lexxus indeed knows what her father expects when it comes to playing the sport and also knows when her father is serious.
“He gets on me a lot when he knows I have to pick it up and be a leader,” she said. “It’s about the same (as the other players). It can be hard (sometimes) because I know he’s going to be on me and I have to pick it up and I know what to expect from him.”
On the court, the two have different styles. Robbie described himself as more aggressive when he played the sport.
“She’s a little more laid back than I am,” Robbie said. “I’m one of those I would run over my grandmother to get a basket. She’s not there yet. She’s getting there. She loves the game and loves to play. She enjoys it.”
Robbie likes his daughter’s leadership qualities, one of the traits he carried as a player.
“She is the leader,” he said. “Not just because she’s my daughter, but because (the other players) look up to her. She directs (the offense) and on most teams, your point guard is the leader. She sees the floor well and she understands the game real well. She picks up all of the offenses we run and everything we put in. She has been around the game all of her life.”
During his playing career, Robbie Graham said he was more of a scorer on the offensive end who wasn’t afraid to launch a shot under any set of circumstances. Lexxus thinks twice before firing the ball at the rim.
“She didn’t get that (trait) from me,” he said with a smile. “I like to shoot it. We have family members that ask if she’s a Graham, because we all like to shoot it. She loves to play the game, so she probably got the love of the game and the passion from me.”
Lexxus said her love for basketball began at an early age and describes herself as a better passer than her father.
“It started when I was a baby,” she said with a smile. “I like to shoot it, but I like to pass it more.”
Going into her first full season of playing for her dad, Lexxus feels the excitement the day the school announced Robbie’s hiring.
“He’s going to help us get to the state,” she said. “He’s a great coach. He knows the game very well and he has a lot of knowledge about the game. He’s teaching us and his focus is defense.”