Duke freshman AJ Griffin made it official Sunday when he announced he would enter his name in June’s NBA draft, becoming the fifth Blue Devil to declare in the past week. He intends to hire an agent.
Griffin, a 6-foot-6 small forward, was an honorable mention All-ACC selection and a member of the ACC All-Rookie team in his only season in Durham. The Ossining, New York, native played in all 39 of Duke’s games this season (starting the last 25 after a sprained knee in October slowed his development). He averaged 10.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game while shooting 44.7% from 3-point range — the fifth best in school history.
League’s getting a good one!
— Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) April 24, 2022
“I know a lot of kids grow up dreaming they could wear that Duke uniform and play in Cameron Indoor Stadium,” Griffin said in Sunday’s press release. “I was one of those kids growing up, and I am so grateful I had that opportunity.
“As I declare for the 2022 NBA Draft, I am filled with gratitude. It was an honor to play for Duke and represent The Brotherhood. It was a dream come true. My experiences have helped prepare me for this moment and I am proud to know I will be a Blue Devil for life.”
Legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who retired after Duke’s Final Four run this season, believes Griffin will add a lot to an NBA team on the court and in the locker room.
“AJ was one of best shooters in the nation and his skillset is exactly what NBA teams are looking for,” Krzyzewski said in the release. “He is a remarkable young man that comes from a beautiful family and we’re certainly going to miss them. AJ showed up every day with a smile on his face and his positive energy was infectious. We appreciate everything that he did for our program and know that great things will happen for him.”
As Griffin joins fellow Blue Devils Mark Williams, Paolo Banchero, Wendell Moore Jr. and Trevor Keels in preparing for the draft, he will seek to remain grounded in his strong faith in Christ.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”- John 10:10 #ThankYouLord
— AJ Griffin (@whoisAG21) April 18, 2022
Jesus Christ has risen! Hallelujah! 🙏🏾✝️
— AJ Griffin (@whoisAG21) April 17, 2022
According to Krzyzewski, Griffin is a leader in his faith, and that had a positive impact on last season’s Blue Devils.
“What AJ has brought to our program is a great belief in God,” Krzyzewski said last month. “Because of him, the team has started a Bible study, and it’s because of him. He asked the guys to do it. He’s not nervous, he has it together more than most of us and I’m proud of him for it.”
Griffin’s Twitter account is full of references to Jesus, Bible verses and personal testimonies about what God has done in his life. He also often posts messages on his TikTok account after reading the Bible.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Whatever you’re going through right now Jesus already defeated it on the cross just allow him to help you and love you! He did it for me so he can do it for you🙏🏾
— AJ Griffin (@whoisAG21) February 24, 2022
“I feel like everyone needs a relationship with God,” he told 247 Sports in February. “For me, I believe in Jesus Christ and what He’s done in my life; I want that to happen to others too. I was in a bad place when I was going through injuries (in his last two years of high school), and He’s the one that helped me through it. He’s the one that got me out of that situation and really made me a better person.”
The draft process Griffin is about to embark on is often all about evaluating a player’s worth, but Griffin knows his true worth is always found in what his Heavenly Father declares of him.
The 2022 NBA Draft will be held on June 23 from Brooklyn, New York, and the CBS Sports mock draft released last week projects Griffin will be selected ninth overall by the San Antonio Spurs.
– Freshman AJ Griffin living as follower of Christ while leading Duke to Final Four
– Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe returning to Kentucky: ‘God’s not done with me’
– Purdue’s Jaden Ivey enters NBA draft, thanks God for ‘blessing me with the ability’
– Duke freshmen RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish thank God as they declare for NBA draft
– Veronica Burton drafted 7th overall by Dallas Wings, keeps God at the forefront