It's good to be a Griffin

It's good to be a Griffin

CHAMPAIGN — This is an important offseason for Illinois guard Alan Griffin. The Illini need more shooting and have an opening on the wing with Aaron Jordan's graduation. Griffin could fill both roles.

Proving it this spring and summer — ahead of the 2019-20 season — is a start. Griffin shot 48 percent from three-point range as a high school senior but hit at just 30.4 percent during his freshman season for the Illini. His victory in Saturday's workout-ending three-point contest with Ayo Dosunmu and Trent Frazier proves he has the ability.

The Illinois coaches won't just have their eyes on Alan Griffin's improvement this spring and summer, though. They'll be tracking his younger brother A.J., too, on the Nike EYBL circuit. That starts Friday in Atlanta when the EYBL tips off its 2019 season.

A.J. Griffin, who plays for PSA Cardinals in the EYBL, is a consensus five-star prospect in the Class of 2021 and is ranked as high as No. 10 nationally by Rivals.

Despite dealing with a foot injury, the 6-foot-5, 180-pound guard still had a breakout sophomore season at Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) playing alongside fellow Illinois target R.J. Davis (a 2020 guard also playing in the EYBL). The younger Griffin missed 12 games in 2018-19, but still averaged 20.9 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 3.5 blocks and 2.4 steals for the Crusaders.

Atlanta will be a hotbed of recruiting in the new April evaluation period. Illinois recruiting targets in the 2020 and 2021 classes are featured on 17 different EYBL teams, including Mac Irvin Fire (Adam Miller, Ryan Kalkbrenner and Michael Foster), Brad Beal Elite (Cam'Ron Fletcher, Caleb Love and Moses Moody) and MOKAN Elite (Davion Bradford, Luke Kasubke and Samson Ruzhenstev).

Nike isn't the only shoe company holding an event this weekend. The adidas Gauntlet will get underway in Dallas, while the Under Armour Association will hold its second session of the season in Kansas City.