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Illinois Basketball 2018-19 Player Review: Alan Griffin

How can a freshman with very limited minutes show a bright future for the Illini?

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

By The Numbers

At 6-foot-5, the freshman guard averaged 2.8 points per game, 1.6 rebounds per game, and just under half an assist in eight minutes per contest. Only held scoreless in two of his games where he played at least five minutes, he was able to score, showing an ability to make the most of any opportunity he was given. In fact, Griffin may be one of the bright spots in a 21-loss season for the Illini.

If you take his numbers and factor them into starters’ minutes (i.e. 30 minutes per contest), Griffin looks like someone who would start for anyone in the Big Ten. A potential stat line of 11.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and just under two assists per game, Griffin is one of the Illini many fans should be high on coming entering the 2019-20 season.

Griffin is not only a solid building block for the future, but he is also a leader on this young team. With Griffin, you saw someone who put in the work, who never let the outside noise distract him, who understood — at least from my perspective — what it takes to make it in the Big Ten, arguably one of the best conferences in the country. The work ethic is where he excels and it will pay big dividends for the Illini in the near future.

Impact on the Illini

The problem with looking at the impact on a player with limited minutes is just that. His limited minutes make it difficult to gauge impact. Perhaps Griffin’s biggest impact in his limited time was with rebounding.

Per 100 possessions, Griffin led the team in rebounds per game with 11.6, was third on the team in defensive rating, and was second in blocks per 100 possessions. The only area of concern for Alan, a true freshman, was his turnovers per game. With nearly one turnover per game in 2018-19, Griffin has shown minor issues with ball security, something Underwood and Co. will likely work on in the offseason.

Griffin has shown the ability to create second-chance points for the Illini, and the advanced metrics show that. His offensive rebound percentage, which measures the percentage of available offensive rebounds a player gets while they are on the floor, was best for all players wearing orange and blue at 10.9%. In fact, in most advanced stats, Griffin measures in the top half of all Illini, something he should be fairly optimistic regarding coming in to next season.

Griffin’s Best Game

Griffin had two games this season where he hit double-digit points. Sure, it would be easy to list one of those games. His best game, however, came when he only scored two points.

On March 7, Illinois hosted Indiana in a game that should have been a tooth and nail fight. Instead, Illinois got trounced in that loss. Griffin, however, showed he could lead this team when given the opportunity. With three rebounds, three assists, a block, and two points, Griffin made the most of his twelve minutes. Pair those stats with no turnovers and you see that Griffin did everything that was asked of him.

The Quick and Dirty

Illinois has about 473 guards looking for minutes in Champaign. This season, Griffin built the foundation for his future.

Next season, I would expect Griffin to be one of the first guards off the bench for the Illini.

I could see his sophomore minutes increase to nearly 20 minutes per game, maybe even more if the roster changes. For now, Griffin should be incredibly proud of what he has accomplished in his college career. The sky is the limit for him and great things are on the horizon.

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