Griffin Off to NBA Summer League

Archbishop Stepinac High School graduate AJ Griffin is heading to Las Vegas with the Atlanta Hawks to compete in the NBA Summer League.

Griffin and the Hawks will be playing four games starting July 9 with the playoffs scheduled to begin July 16.

The Hawks will play the Utah Jazz on July 9 at 7:30 p.m.; New Orleans Pelicans on July 11 at 6 p.m.; Miami Heat on July 12 at 7 p.m.; and San Antonio Spurs on July 14 at 4 p.m. NBA TV will televise the first three games and ESPN 2 will have the final game.

Griffin was drafted 16th overall by the Hawks in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft one week ago at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Griffin averaged 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in leading the Duke Blue Devils to the NCAA Division I Final Four during his one season at Durham, N.C. He shot 49.3 percent from the floor and 44.7 percent from three-point range.

Prior to Duke, Griffin helped Stepinac capture the 2018 state high school federation championship.

Velazquez Hits 5th HR

Fordham Prep graduate Andrew Velazquez belted his fifth home run of the season for the Los Angeles Angels during an 11-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.

Velaquez has five home runs in 200 at bats this year after having one home in his 197 career at bats prior to this season.

His 35 hits in 2022 have produced 22 runs scored, 20 RBI, six doubles and 10 stolen bases.

Velaquez and the Angels finish their series tonight with the White Sox before traveling to Houston for a series with the Astros that begins on Friday night.


Piazza Coming to The Sheen Center

The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture will present its Faith, The Competitive Edge series on Tuesday, July 26 with former Mets catcher and National Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza.

The 12:30 p.m. event is hosted by 1988 U.S. Track and Field Olympian Leslie Maxie. The series is inspired by the Vatican’s Sport at the Service of Humanity movement.

Tickets are $24 and $35. A limited $75 ticket will include a meet and greet with Piazza at noon (no autographs will be signed).

Fans also can make a donation to The Sheen Center with a ticket purchase for a chance to win two tickets to join Piazza in the Honda Clubhouse at Citi Field to watch the Mets play the Yankees that night.

Tickets: (212) 219-3132,

Click here to watch a portion of the interview Maxie did with Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine at The Sheen Center.

Click here to read a Catholic New York story with Pat LaFontaine.

Click here to read a Catholic New York story with Mike Piazza.


Case Superb for Altoona Curve

Iona Prep graduate Brad Case has been solid on the mound in the past month for the Altoona Curve.

In his last nine outings, Case has allowed only two earned runs on 14 hits and five walks over 21 innings. He has 21 strikeouts and has given up only two extra-base hits, both doubles.

Case is 0-0 with a save and 2.25 earned run average for Altoona, the AA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He started the season in AAA with the Indianapolis Indians.

Case was a 17th-round pick of the Pirates in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft.


Six Earn All-State Softball Honors

The following archdiocesan Catholic high school softball players received all-state honors from the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports:


Fourth team: Julia Harsche, St. Joseph by-the-Sea, senior, third base; Sixth team: Jordan Felci, Moore Catholic, freshman, pitcher; Seventh team: Julianna Martin, St. Joseph by-the-Sea, senior, pitcher.


Sixth team: Sophia DiDonna, Notre Dame Academy, senior, left field; Seventh team: Emily Duhaney, Ursuline, junior, pitcher.


Third team: Teagan Dwyer, Albertus Magnus, freshman, pitcher.

Hawks Pick Griffin

The experts guessed wrong.

Archbishop Stepinac High School graduate AJ Griffin was selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the 16th pick of the 2022 NBA Draft.

Expected to be a lottery pick, the 18 year old dropped to the 16th spot on draft night. Several experts had Griffin being picked by the Knicks at No. 12, but the Knicks were busy making trades – including Rice High School graduate Kemba Walker to the Detroit Pistons – to free up cap space and acquire draft picks for future drafts.

Griffin averaged 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in leading the Duke Blue Devils to the Final Four during his one season at Durham, N.C. He shot 49.3 percent from the floor and 44.7 percent from beyond the three-point arc.

Prior to Duke, the 6-foot-6 guard played at Stepinac, helping the team to a state federation championship in 2018. The current Stepinac players and coaching staff were among those at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the NBA Draft. 

Griffin is the son of Adrian and Audrey Griffin. Adrian, who played at Seton Hall, played 10 seasons in the NBA before becoming an assistant coach in the NBA. Audrey ran in the track and field program at Seton Hall.

AJ’s other brother, Alan, was a member of Stepinac’s championship team and later played at the University of Illinois and Syracuse University. His sister, Aubrey, plays for the University of Connecticut.


LaSorsa Excels in June

Iona Prep graduate Joe LaSorsa continues to pitch well for the Bowling Green Hot Rods.

In the month of June, LaSorsa has a win and two saves with a 1.64 earned run average for the High-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. In 11 innings, he’s allowed two earned runs on five hits and one walks, and struck out 18.

For the season, LaSorsa is 4-3 with a 1.85 earned run average and five saves. He has 47 strikeouts in 34 innings.

LaSorsa was an 18th-round pick of the Rays in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft.


Yost Returns to Cape League

Fordham Prep graduate Eric Yost pitched well as his Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox suffered a 2-0 loss to the Orleans Firebirds in Cape Cod Baseball League action on Wednesday night.

Yost, a pitcher for Northeastern University in Boston, allowed one earned run on four hits and one walk in 5 ⅓ innings for the Red Sox. He struck out three.

In two starts this summer, Yost is 0-2 with a 3.85 earned run average. In 9 ⅓ innings, he’s allowed one walk and struck out eight.

This is Yost’s second summer with the Red Sox. In 2021, he was 0-1 with a 5.78 ERA and had 14 strikeouts in 14 innings.

Will Knicks Draft Griffin?

Will you be watching the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday night?

You may want to tune in to ABC at 8 p.m. if you are a Knicks fan, member of the Archbishop Stepinac High School community or a follower of high school basketball in New York.

Three of the five mock drafts checked by this writer–The Athletic, Washington Post and USA Today–have Stepinac graduate AJ Griffin being selected by the Knicks with the 11th pick. CBS Sports has Griffin picked seventh by the Portland Trail Blazers and NBC Sports has the Oklahoma City Thunder selecting Griffin with the 12th pick. In the NBC Sports mock draft, the Knicks select center Jalen Duren of Memphis.

Griffin has battled through injuries at Stepinac and his one season at Duke University, but the 18 year old is a talented player still growing to reach his full potential. In his one season at Duke, the 6-foot-6 guard averaged 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in leading the Blue Devils to the Final Four. He shot 49.3 percent from the floor and 44.7 percent from beyond the three-point arc.

By the way, did you know AJ’s father, Adrian, who starred at Seton Hall University, served as an assistant for five years with Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau in Chicago with the Bulls?

So what do you think? Will Griffin become a Knick? Will this be a good pick for the Knicks?


Former St. Raymond Star Dies Tragically in Harlem Shooting

Please keep Darius Lee, his family and the St. Raymond High School community in your prayers.

The graduate of St. Raymond High School in the Bronx was killed in Harlem early Monday morning, the victim of a mass shooting that left eight others wounded.

“We are heartbroken and devastated to learn of the senseless passing of Darius Lee, class of 2018,” the school released in a statement on its Facebook page. “Our prayers and condolences go out to his family at this time, and we pray for his eternal rest with our Lord.

“Aside from being a tremendous basketball star, he was a phenomenal human being, and a young man living such a positive life, succeeding in school, on the court, and in life. These senseless acts of violence need to stop…such a tragedy.”

Lee just completed his fourth season of collegiate basketball, and his second at Houston Baptist University where he averaged a team-high 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He also had team-highs of 86 assists and 65 steals, and shot 54 percent from the floor.

Lee finished with season-highs of 52 points and 18 rebounds against McNeese State on March 5. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward was 16 for 30 from the field and 20 for 27 from the free-throw line.

In two seasons at Houston Baptist, Lee scored 674 points.

“We are devastated. Darius was a remarkable young man who loved the Lord, his mom, his family, his teammates, his friends and his entire HBU family,” Houston Baptist men’s basketball coach James Sears Bryant said in a statement from the school.
“We are in shock and cannot wrap our heads around this news. My heart breaks for his mom, his sister and his entire family, and for our basketball team. The only thing we find comfort in right now is knowing where Darius is. He is in the arms of Jesus… we know that as fact. And we will see him again some day.”

Prior to Houston Baptist, Lee played two seasons at Sullivan County Community College where he was a first-team All-American as a sophomore after averaging 18.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Sullivan finished the season ranked second in the nation with a 28-2 record.

Lee averaged 14 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game as a freshman.

At St. Raymond, Lee was a two-year starter, averaging 21 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a senior and 15 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists as a junior.