Freshman A.J. Griffin to leave Duke for NBA Draft
April 25, 2022
After just one season with the Duke Blue Devils, freshman wing A.J. Griffin has decided to enter the NBA draft. He is the fifth Blue Devil to declare for the draft in the past week.
The school confirmed Griffin's decision on Sunday, the last day for underclassmen to declare for the draft. The 6-foot-6 wing is regarded as a potential lottery pick.
Griffin said he was honored to be a part of the Duke basketball program. He added that his experiences at the school had prepared him for this moment.
"It was a dream come true," Griffin said in a statement. "My experiences have helped prepare me for this moment and I am proud to know I will be a Blue Devil for life."
The decision by Griffin followed the footsteps of other prominent Blue Devils players such as Mark Williams and Paolo Banchero. The 222-pound wing is widely considered one of the top eight draft prospects in the country. Aside from being a talented player, he is also part of a recruiting class viewed as one of the best in the country.
Despite missing most of his high school season due to various injuries, Griffin still managed to produce 10.4 points per game. He also developed into a capable defensive player for the Blue Devils.
As the 18-year-old wing started to get used to playing full-time games, his contribution to the team grew. For his first start of the season, he scored 22 points. His performance against the Wake Forest Deamon Deacons was one of the highlights of the season. He would score 27 points in a win over the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Griffin started the season slowly due to a knee injury. He eventually became one of the country's most effective outside shooting threats. At the end of the season, he shot 44.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Due to the departure of two of the team's top perimeter shooting threats, namely DJ Steward and Matthew Hurt, Griffin was expected to step up and provide a consistent offensive threat for the Blue Devils. He did so, and he ended the season with 12.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Despite his relatively high injury history, Griffin is regarded as a potential first-round pick due to his size and shooting ability. He is also a versatile player who can play both the point and shooting guards. In a recent mock draft by Kyle Boone, Griffin is projected to be selected by the San Antonio Spurs.
According to the analyst, despite his inconsistent performance, Griffin still has the potential to be a first-round pick due to his combination of skills and versatility. Boone argued that he was a great 3-point shooter who could play multiple positions on a team.
Duke's roster changes
With the departure of several key players from the 2021-22 roster, new coach Jon Scheyer will have to deal with an overhauled team. As a former player and an assistant, he is well-equipped to handle the changes that will likely happen.
The Blue Devils have the nation's top signing class, featuring several talented players such as Kyle Filipowski, Dereck Lively II, and Dariq Whitehead. Despite the loss of some of their top players, Duke still has enough talent to compete in the upcoming season.