When AJ Griffin heard his identify known as throughout the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday night time, he had no scarcity of family and friends there to rejoice alongside him.
Griffin, who grew up in Ossining, N.Y., starred at Archbishop Stepinac Excessive College. And a majority of the Stepinac basketball program confirmed up at Barclays Heart to help one in all their very own, watching from up shut as Griffin grew to become the college’s first ever first-round decide.
“That’s particular, man, to have my coach there and to simply really feel the love from the group,” Griffin mentioned. “I’m about to go get dinner with them. I simply can’t wait to say what’s up and simply take pleasure in this night time with them.”
They needed to wait longer to start the celebration than some anticipated after Griffin fell to the Hawks with the Sixteenth-overall choice.
Main as much as draft night time, Griffin’s inventory had fluctuated. Issues lingered over his prolonged harm historical past. However, on the similar time, Griffin’s potential proved tantalizing — he’s a 6-foot-6 wing coming off a strong freshman season at Duke by which he averaged 10.4 factors per recreation and shot 45 p.c from past the 3-point arc.
AJ Griffin reacts after being drafted by the Hawks. Picture by Sarah Stier/Getty Photos
AJ Griffin on stage with commissioner Adam Silver. Getty Photos
Griffin, who received’t flip 19 till August, has labored his entire life towards this second. The youngest of three basketball-crazed siblings, Griffin grew up battling his brother, Alan, and sister, Aubrey. Each performed Division I faculty basketball — Alan at Illinois and Syracuse, Aubrey at Connecticut — and AJ adopted of their footsteps.
“We dreamed about that second,” Griffin mentioned. “I believe it’s a reminiscence I’m going to recollect ceaselessly, and I’m positive they’ll, too.”
And Griffin honed his craft below the tutelage of his dad, Adrian, a former Seton Corridor star and a 10-year professional who at the moment serves as an assistant coach for the Raptors.
“He gave me a lot recommendation,” Griffin mentioned when requested about his dad’s affect. “Simply to be right here at the moment and simply to share this second with him, he simply at all times advised me the reality, at all times gave me the most effective recommendation a father may. I’m simply actually grateful and blessed to have a father like him.”
Griffin can now work on carving out his personal NBA legacy.