UPDATED: Illinois commitment brings Griffin 'home'

UPDATED: Illinois commitment brings Griffin 'home'

CHAMPAIGN — Alan Griffin has moved multiple times growing up, following his dad, Adrian, from one NBA stop to the next both during the latter’s playing career and when he moved from the court to the sideline as a coach.

That included time in places like Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Milwaukee and now New York.

If there’s one place Griffin said he considers home, though, it’s Chicago. He started high school at Oak Park-River Forest when his dad was an assistant on Tom Thibodeau’s Chicago Bulls staff. Another move got him to the east coast after his dad went from the Bulls to Orlando Magic and now Oklahoma City Thunder.

Now a senior at Archbishop Stepinac in White Plains, N.Y., Griffin is coming “home.” The 6-foot-5 Class of 2018 wing committed to Illinois on Friday afternoon, the culmination of a recruitment that started last summer with an unofficial visit to Champaign and picked up steam just a week ago with a scholarship offer.

“I got a really good feel for them and liked the campus and facility,” Griffin said about his first look at the program during his unofficial visit. "The coaching staff is a nice staff. I feel like I’ve got a close relationship with them already, and (Friday) something hit me. It was the right time to (commit). They were very excited and very pumped and said they can’t wait to have me on the team.”

Griffin’s Illinois offer came while he was in the midst of leading Archbishop Stepinac to its first Catholic High School Athletic Association Archdiocesan championship since 1984. He had 29 points and 11 rebounds in the championship game against Cardinal Hayes and averaged 16.3 points and 11 rebounds per game in the CHSAA Playoffs.

That came after Griffin averaged 18.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.5 steals in the regular season for the Crusaders. He shot 48 percent from the field overall and hit the same 48 percent mark from three-point range.

“They can see me making a huge impact coming in,” Griffin said is what the Illinois coaches told him. “On the offensive end, I know they need help with shooting. They know I can bring that in, and that’s what they really wanted me for. I can also bring in defense and a lot of energy for the team and get my teammates involved.”

Griffin’s senior season will continue in the CHSAA Intersectional Playoffs. Archbishop Stepinac received a double bye and will play again Sunday against St. Raymond at Fordham. Griffin said he still has work to do to keep refining his game like he has this season.

“I feel like I’ve matured a lot more,” Griffin said. “My ball handling has definitely improved from last year, and I feel like I’m an even better shooter. I’m going to work on everything — just work on my all around game.”

Illinois has work to do, too, moving forward after the 2017-18 season ended in an opening-round exit in the Big Ten tournament before March even started. Plenty of that work is still to come on the recruiting trail, but adding Griffin is another step taken after November signee Ayo Dosunmu was the only 2018 prospect on board dating back to his October commitment.

“Going into this process, I’m sort of like Joel Embiid — trust the process,” Griffin said. “I feel like we can really go far in the next couple of years.”

Future teammates, Griffin and Dosunmu have thus far only played against each other on the AAU circuit. Griffin ran with New York Renaissance last spring and summer in the Nike EYBL where he averaged 7.1 points and 2.6 rebounds playing alongside fellow 2018 guards Luther Muhammad (Ohio State) and Cormac Ryan (Stanford) and 2019 Illini target Kofi Cockburn.

“It’s going to be great,” Griffin said about playing with Dosunmu. “I feel like both of our games can combine really well together, and we can bring a lot to the table for this team.”

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BigBadJohn wrote on March 02, 2018 at 4:03 pm

Well, this seems a good start.  What we really need in big stud on the backboard.  May e can at least get a grad transfer for th etime being.

 

Bwp 5P wrote on March 02, 2018 at 4:03 pm

Welcome aboard Young Man! We wish you nothing but Success playing for The Fighting ILlINI!