Duke freshman AJ Griffin is heading to the NBA, becoming the fifth Blue Devils player to declare early for the draft last week.
The school announced Griffin’s decision on Sunday, the last day for players to declare themselves eligible for the NBA draft. Duke said the 6-foot-6, 222-pound wing is being considered as a possible lottery draft that plans to hire an agent.
“It was like a dream come true,” Griffin said in a statement. “My experiences have helped prepare me for this moment and I am proud to know that I will be a Blue Devil for life.”
Griffin’s NBA move follows Mark Williams’ move after 7-16-10 star freshman Paolo Banchero6-5 Wing Wendell Moore Jr. and 6-5 guard Trevor Keels, From Ossining, New York, one of the nation’s top recruiting classes, Griffin is ranked as ESPN’s No. 8 draft prospect.
He averaged 10.4 points giving wing shape, outward shooting and defensive capability For the Blue Devils. The production came despite him missing his last two high school seasons due to knee and ankle injuries, as well as a preseason knee injury that slowed his process of getting back into rhythm after an extended absence.
His role grew as he became more comfortable returning to action full-time. He moved into the top lineup by mid-January and never left, starting Duke’s last 25 games. He had 22 points on his first start at Wake Forest shooting 8-for-11, the first of five 20-point outputs as a starter – the highlight of a 27-point star-making in a win over rival North Carolina. At the beginning of February.
Griffin made 71 of 159 3-pointers (44.7%), including 10 games as a starter with at least three 3s.
Griffin helped Duke reach the now-retired Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski’s record 13th Final Four, winning the program’s first outright Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title since 2006.
“AJ was one of the best shooters in the country and NBA teams are looking for his skills,” Krzyzewski said in a statement.
While Duke is losing a lot of top-tier talent as Jon Scheer takes over for KrzyzewskiThe Blue Devils will have guard Jeremy Roach – who announced his return earlier in the week and had a strong postseason run — as the team’s top returning scorer (8.6 points, 27 starts). Duke also has 247 Sports’ No.1-ranked recruiting class, which includes top overall prospect Derek Lively II, fellow big man Kyle Filipowski (No. 3) and short forward Darik Whitehead (No. 5).
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