Quarterback Kekahi Graham has the master plan.
The Saint Louis sophomore returned from Dallas with an MVP honor at the National Prep Showcase, outperforming elite older quarterbacks at the one-day combine.
“I feel very blessed and I’m thankful to have my parents (Celine and Gery Graham) with me,” Graham said.
Graham has a 3.5 grade-point average and managed his academic workload during the trip, completing his finals from the road. He also visited with older brother, Kaimi Wilson, who is in the Air Force. It was a win-win-win all around.
“It was actually kind of hard. Texas is five hours ahead, so I had to wake up early,” he said of finals.
The showcase was a combine format including 40-yard dash, long jump, cone drills and individual drills by position.
“Then we had straight one-on-ones. It was great competition and a fun experience,” Graham said.
Saint Louis coach Ron Lee isn’t surprised by Graham’s accomplishment.
“That’s impressive. He’s really doing a heck of a job in our spring that just got over. He’s ready to go, well prepared. He’s a lot like Tua, and he’s still young. Left-handed, he moves around, he’s smooth and smart. Does a lot of good things for a young guy,” Lee said. “His dad spends a lot of time with him, teaching him the system and they’re so supportive. They’re working hard and they’re showing it.”
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound southpaw slinger also attributed his efficiency and performance to a recent change to a plant-based diet. He isn’t 100-percent vegan, but at around 80-percent plant-based, Graham feels sharper than ever.
“We’re basically a plant-based family. We made some changes during the pandemic. On special occasions, we’ll eat meat. Plant based, I feel more energized and my performance is at a higher standard,” he said.
Earning the MVP honor at the National Prep Showcase was one of those special moments.
“We celebrated. We missed rice, so we went to Jen’s Barbecue. It’s a Korean all-you-can-eat restaurant. We were there for an hour-and-a-half,” Graham said. “I like their kal bi.”
Graham’s dietary approach is about health. His recommendations for young athletes who want a healthier game plan:
>> Sunwarrior plant-based protein (vanilla flavor)
>> Impossible burger, Burger King
>> Loco moco, Simple Joy Vegetarian Cuisine restaurant
>> Bean substitute for meat, Taco Bell
>> Meatless chili, Zippy’s
The spark, Graham said, was watching “What The Health,” a documentary on Netflix. After watching that, he viewed “The Game Changers,” a Netflix doc about elite athletes who have adopted plant-based eating habits.
Kekahi Graham’s Lockdown Staples
Top 3 movies/shows
1. “Wrath of a Man” (Ward Consolidated Theaters)
“A lot of action. I like guns and all that. It was a good life lesson story and kind of sad at the same time. It’s about a man who lost his son and wants to get revenge.”
2. “White Chicks” (Netflix)
“I love ‘White Chicks.’ I love the way they move around and talk, it’s so funny.”
3. “The Replacements”
4. “A Bronx Tale”
Top 3 food/snack/drink
1. Rainbow shave ice (Waiola Shave Ice).
“Medium, ice cream, extra mochi balls, condensed milk. That was the thing we were craving for.”
2. Grilled cheese sandwich, clam chowder (Cafe Zupas in Las Vegas).
3. Chicken sandwich, French fries (Chik-Fil-A).
“I like the protein shakes my dad makes for me. I can’t tell you what’s in it. It’s a secret.”
Top 3 music artists
1. Lil Baby – “Woah”
2. Future/Drake – “Life is Good”
3. Maoli – “Golden”
New skill: Golf
“I picked up golf. It’s a very mental game. You’ve got to stay focused. You have to be disciplined. If you make a bad shot, you have to make up for it. I went with my mom and my dad every weekend. We picked it up during the pandemic. We all have different clubs. We love it.”
Graham learned the sport quickly enough to make the junior varsity team at Saint Louis, winning his first official match at Hawaii Kai with a 43 on the front nine.
“The swinging technique, explosion, lower body is all the same thing as throwing a football,” Gery Graham said.
The new hobby included some friendly competition between siblings during the trip to Texas.
“We golfed with my brother. He thought he could beat me. First hole, I actually birded. He had a double bogey and he had a tantrum. He’s 22 years old and he was having a tantrum like a 6 year old,” Kekahi Graham said. “I was trying not to laugh.”
“First and foremost, I thank my Heavenly Father. If it wasn’t for him, this wouldn’t be possible. My friends and family. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be in this position today. Coach Ron, Coach Cal (Lee), Coach Vinny (Passas), Coach Howard (Peralta), they made a big difference in my progress as a QB. Coach Kelii (Tilton) tweaked my body mechanics. I’m gonna work out with him today.”