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.

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.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DUKE UNIVERSITY

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?

PHOTO COURTESY OF DUKE UNIVERSITY

Celtics Add Iona Prep Graduate

Iona Prep graduate Matt Ryan was called up to the Boston Celtics and will be making his NBA debut this evening when the Celtics play in Toronto.

The 6-foot-7 forward was playing with the Maine Celtics of the NBA G League where he was averaging 19.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game in 27 games this season. 

The 24 year old attended Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and Chattanooga.

Jerome Igniting Thunder

Iona Prep graduate Ty Jerome is averaging 16 points and four assists over his last three games for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.

In Friday’s victory over the visiting Knicks, the first round pick of the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2019 NBA Draft had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Jerome, 24, is averaging 7.1 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game this season.

Jerome was a starting guard for the 2019 University of Virginia Cavaliers, who won the national championship. The 24th overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft was dealt to the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns before the start of the 2019-2020 NBA season.

Westchester Knicks Add Griffin

Archbishop Stepinac High School graduate Alan Griffin was acquired from the available player pool by the Westchester Knicks of the NBA G League, the team announced.

The Westchester Knicks are affiliated by the NBA’s New York Knicks and play their home games in Bridgeport, Conn.

Griffin, a 6-foot-5 guard, was available for the Knicks after being waived by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Dec. 14. He averaged 1.8 points and 1.5 rebounds in four games with Rio Grande, which acquired Griffin in a trade with the Santa Cruz Warriors prior to the start of the season.

Griffin played two seasons at the University of Illinois and one at Syracuse University before entering the 2021 NBA Draft. He was undrafted and played in the NBA Summer League for the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging 3.3 points and 1.7 rebounds in three games.

Knicks Sign Walker

Kemba Walker is now a member of the New York Knicks.

The product of Rice High School in Harlem reportedly signed a two-year deal worth $18 million on Thursday.

Walker, 31, agreed to a buyout with the Oklahoma City Thunder one week ago and needed to clear waivers before signing with the Knicks. The four-time NBA All-Star was acquired by the Thunder in June from the Boston Celtics with two years and $74 million remaining on his contract.

Walker averaged 19.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game with the Celtics during the 2020-2021 season. For his 10-year NBA career with Charlotte and Boston, he’s averaging 19.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

A first-round pick for Charlotte in the 2011 draft, Walker will share point guard duties with Derrick Rose, who joined the Knicks this past season and was just signed for three more years with the Knicks.

The two guards once played a high school game against one another at Madison Square Garden. Rose later played at Memphis, leading the Tigers to the 2008 NCAA Division I championship game, and Walker led the University of Connecticut to the 2011 NCAA championship.

Lakers Add Griffin to Summer Roster

Archbishop Stepinac High School graduate Alan Griffin will be playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2021 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas this month.

The Lakers open Sunday at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN2 against the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers will meet the Knicks on Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 10 p.m. The league concludes with the championship game on Aug. 17.

Griffin played two seasons at the University of Illinois before transferring to Syracuse University. He declared himself eligible for the 2021 NBA Draft and was not selected, making him a free agent. At Syracuse, he averaged 13.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. He shot 43.1 percent from the floor.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY

Breen Being Honored at Naismith Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend

Salesian High School and Fordham University graduate Mike Breen will be honored this weekend at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend.

Breen is the recipient of the 2020 Curt Gowdy Media Award for his work calling basketball games. He currently calls NBA games for ESPN, ABC and the Madison Square Garden Network. Previously, he called NBA and Olympic basketball games on NBC, NFL games NBC and FOX, and delivered sports updates on the Imus in the Morning show on WFAN (660 AM). 

Click here to read a Catholic New York story following Breen’s selection to the Hall of Fame.

PHOTO COURTESY OF FORDHAM UNIVERSITY

Jerome Shines for Oklahoma City

Iona Prep graduate Ty Jerome had back-to-back strong games for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder this past weekend.

In a 119-97 loss to the New York Knicks on Saturday, Jerome finished with 11 points, five rebounds and five assists. The next day, he collected 12 points, six rebounds and five assists in a 128-122 win over Memphis.

Jerome, 23, is averaging 9.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game during the 2020-2021 season.

Jerome led the University of Virginia to the 2019 NCAA Division I championship and was a first-round pick of the Phoenix Suns in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Jerome and the Thunder will play the Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta on Thursday night.