Look! A transfer that actually got a wavier accepted to play at Syracuse!
It’s time for another preseason player profile for the Syracuse men’s basketball team. To look at all our player profiles and more preseason content, visit the men’s basketball section here.
Recently, Syracuse has found tremendous success with transfers in guys like Michael Gbinije, Andrew White, John Gillon, Paschal Chukwu, and most recently Elijah Hughes. Griffin looks to follow in their footsteps, especially Hughes’. The Illinois transfer is the favorite to take the recent NBA draft pick’s spot in the SU starting lineup.
The immediate thing that pops out about Griffin is his shooting. That’s the one area where perhaps the absence of Hughes will be felt the least. What remains to be seen is if Griffin can help replace the defense and intangibles that the former East Carolina transfer brought to Jim Boeheim’s squad.
Recently on a Zoom call, Boeheim compared Griffin’s motor to Baye Moussa Keita.
“Every play he’ll go after a rebound from 20 feet away and go get it above the rim. Loose ball, he’ll go get it from 25 feet away. He’s a huge motor guy. … He’s still a skill player. He shoots the ball well and makes plays. He’s a highly skilled player who’s working on his ball-handling, penetration.”
Vitals: 6-foot-5, 190 lbs.
Stats: 2019-20 (Illinois): 8.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 0.6 assists per game. Griffin led Illinois in three-point field goal percentage (41.6) and free-throw percentage (86.1)
Strengthens/Weaknesses: As I mentioned above, the shooting is what jumps off the chart when you look at Griffin. Not only does he have a quick-trigger three, he also shows great off-ball movement to make himself open for a free three. That alone should take some pressure off of the Syracuse guards to create threes for themselves. You also can’t ignore 4.5 rebounds in 18.1 minutes of average game time, which is pretty good for a player his height.
The biggest unknown is how Griffin will integrate into the 2-3 zone. A lot has been said about his wide wingspan, but it remains to be seen if that will make up for the height deficit at the back of the zone. Perhaps a mid-range game would help Griffin as well, as a quick look at his highlights shows that he either shoots from behind the arc or at the rim.
Ceiling: Griffin proves to be an efficient and reliable scoring option as he consistently finds himself open for easy threes. He easily replaces the scoring lost by Hughes, which means that Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard don’t have to do everything on offense. His wingspan also forces turnovers on defense as he provides a secure pair of hands to aid in rebounding efforts.
Floor: Griffin falls prey to “Syracuse Syndrome” and loses any sense of consistency behind the arc. His lack of offensive contributions compound with weak defensive influence, which means Coach Boeheim turns to Quincy Guerrier more often.