Alan Griffin just wrapped up his official visit this past weekend in Champaign. Griffin committed on March 2.
In that month, Griffin has led Stepinac to both city and state championships and has received more recognition amongst talent evaluators.
After completing his visit this weekend alongside Illinois’ most recent commit, Andres Feliz, Griffin plans to sign on Wednesday, April 11. This Wednesday is the first day of the official signing period.
Senior, Alan Griffin @alangriffin_ on his official visit this weekend at the University of Illinois! Alan will sign his National Letter Of Intent on Wednesday, April 11th at Stepinac! #Stepinac pic.twitter.com/Xif9xk4Rkq— Stepinac Basketball (@step_basketball) April 9, 2018
Griffin is a 6-foot-5 sharpshooter who did a little bit of everything for his high school team this season. His ability to shoot and defend multiple positions on the perimeter makes him a valuable asset to the 2018 class.
Best Case Scenario
The revamped Illini backcourt will hopefully be a strong point for next year’s team. At first glance, Griffin wouldn’t appear to be a starter next year, but with injuries, opportunity and impressive performance, anything is possible. Next season, Griffin will hopefully be able to play 10-15 minutes a game and provide valuable floor spacing and length on defense. Frazier, Feliz and Dosunmu will be the primary ball handlers and initiators on offense, but look for Griffin to space the court, knock down open threes and give those lead guards room in the lane to operate.
Griffin has been around the game his entire life. His father Adrian Griffin played and coached for the Bulls and is currently an assistant in Oklahoma City. The best case scenario is that his basketball IQ and knowledge gives him a leg up on the average freshman. He will understand the importance of defensive responsibilities, and pick up the system and instruction from the staff rather quickly. If Underwood can trust him on defense and he can shoot close to 40 percent from three for 15 minutes every night, he would provide a huge boost.
As for his Illini career, Griffin has an opportunity to become a staple on the wing for the next four years. He has the makeup of some of those wings we saw Villanova throw out there during the tournament — long and versatile shooters. By the time he’s an upperclassmen, he should be seeing starter’s minutes and have an increased volume of shot attempts if he proves to be one of the better three-point shooters on the roster.
Worst Case Scenario
We’ve said this with many of the freshmen, and almost all of their worst case scenarios are very similar.
While Griffin appears to have the skills and background of someone who may be able to make an instant impact, it remains to be seen if his body is ready for Big Ten play. An offseason of strength and conditioning training will undoubtedly help, but with Illinois’ current roster and his height and length, he would likely be asked to matchup with another team’s SF or bigger SG. If Griffin gets pushed around on defense it’ll be tough for him to make an instant impact as a freshman.
The worry right now long term for Griffin is simply the numbers game. Illinois has a lot of young guards and wings on the team. Frazier, Dosunmu, Williams, Jones and Griffin are five underclassmen who are all vying for playing time at PG, SG and SF. This doesn’t include Underwood’s newest commit, junior Andres Feliz who will get plenty of guard minutes, or Kipper Nichols, who will dip into the SF minutes.
All five of those players won’t be able to play significant minutes over the next few years barring injury, transfers or leaving for the pros. It will be important for Griffin and his future Illini career that he gets minutes and an opportunity to develop as an underclassman, because he has the potential to be a starter by his junior year, if not sooner.
Most Realistic Scenario
I think Griffin is going to be asked to play a similar role as Aaron Jordan plays for this team. Griffin, Tevian Jones, Da’Monte Williams and Aaron Jordan will likely battle for wing minutes in practice.
I think we will see Griffin have a similar season that Da’Monte Williams had as a freshman. Williams played around 15 minutes per game, and even started a few games because Underwood trusted his defense and basketball IQ. Williams’ stats didn’t necessarily jump off the page, and I don’t think Griffin’s will early in his career either, but I do believe Underwood will need to use him for floor spacing alone.
I expect him to play less early on in the season, but push Aaron Jordan for some of those bench 3-and-D minutes as the season wears on.
Hopefully, he has one or two of those breakout games that random Michigan or Ohio State players always have against us. You know those games. The ones where we travel to Ann Arbor and [random guy who averages 2 PPG] shoots 5-7 from three in 18 minutes.
That’s the guy I think Griffin will be next year.