Lower Hudson Valley Basketball Standout Declares For NBA Draft
A former Hudson Valley hoops star who later helped the Duke Blue Devils to the NCAA Final Four has decided to put his name in the bucket for this year's N.B.A. draft. While only a freshman, this young star feels his experiences at one of the country's top collegiate basketball programs has prepared him to pursue his dreams of playing professional basketball for a living.
LoHud says that Duke star A.J. Griffin declared for the N.B.A. draft Sunday. Following the retirement of longtime Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Griffin becomes Duke's fifth player to declare early for the draft in just a week.
Griffin is a 6'6'' shooting guard/small forward from Ossining, who played high school ball at Archbishop Stepinac. Griffin was named a McDonald’s All-American, who was highly recruited out of high school even after having to sit out for over a year due to injuries and COVID-19 shutdowns.
Griffin, who is sure to be a 1st round pick, will follow in his father's footsteps to the next level. His father, Adrian, played nine seasons of pro ball after starting for Seton Hall. He is now an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors.
Griffin faced off in the Final Four against a former Stepinac high school teammate in RJ Davis, who started this year for Duke's archrival North Carolina. While North Carolina would win that matchup, Davis and the Tar Heels eventually fell to Kansas in the championship game.
Reliving Coach Mike Krzyzewski's Career At West Point
After 42 seasons coaching Duke basketball, Mike Krzyzewski retired after the 2021-22 season as the winningest coach in men's basketball history. Mike Krzyzewski (or, Coach K) has led the Duke Blue Devils to five National Championships while racking up more wins than any other coach in NCAA Division 1 College Basketball history. He has also coached two Olympic Gold Medal winning teams, as well as being a two-time member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (he was inducted for his career in 2001, and as an assistant coach with the 1992 Olympic Dream Team in 2010).
It All Began at West Point
But while his accolades at Duke are well known, both Krzyzewski's playing and coaching careers began at West Point. Krzyzewski played for Army as a point guard from 1966 to 1969 under another well-known Hall of Famer, Coach Bobby Knight. From 1969 to 1974, Krzyzewski served in the United States Army and directed service teams for three years, including a two-year stint as head coach at the U.S. Military Academy Prep School at Belvoir, Virginia. He resigned from service in 1974 with the rank of Captain.
He later took over Head Coaching duties at Army from 1975 to 1980, compiling a 73-59 record. He would lead Army basketball to an N.I.T. berth in 1978, which was the last time the Black Knights made that tournament. he was inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.