Last week, the NCAA granted Syracuse transfer Alan Griffin a waiver, allowing him to become immediately eligible for the upcoming season following his transfer from Illinois. This was huge news for the Orange, with Griffin having the potential to become Syracuse’s top scoring option this season.
Griffin’s numbers don’t appear gaudy at first glance. Last year, he averaged 8.9 ppg and 4.5 rpg as a sophomore.
But he did that in just 18.4 minutes per game with Illinois under head coach Brad Underwood. He also shot 48.5 percent from the field and an impressive 41.6 percent from deep.
Under Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, playing time will no longer be an issue. Boeheim is known for playing his starters for extended minutes (four of his five starters averaged 33 or more minutes last year), and with Griffin it is simple; the more minutes he gets, the more he is going to shine.
With Elijah Hughes leaving for the NBA Draft, it could not have been a better time for Griffin to join. Hughes averaged 37.5 minutes, 19.0 points and 4.9 rebounds last season. Griffin will likely absorb most of Hughes’ minutes and shot opportunities, and if you calculate Griffin’s production into Hughes’ minutes, it comes out to 17.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
While that’s not an exact science, those numbers don’t seem out of the realm of possibility. Griffin may not play 37 minutes a game because of the development of sophomore forward Quincy Guerrier (who may even challenge him for the starting spot). But if Griffin begins to mirror the play of Hughes, it will not be a hard decision for Boeheim of who starts.
Griffin, like Hughes, possesses a diverse offensive repertoire. Although mostly known for his 3-point shooting, Griffin’s athleticism allows him to also be an interior threat as well. With the Illini, he demonstrated his ability to slash at the rim and throw down powerful putbacks, with 37.5 of his shots coming from inside the arc.
That will only be helped with sharpshooters like Joe Girard III and Buddy Boeheim keeping defenders out of the lanes.
Defensively, at 6’5″, Griffin is a lengthy and gritty wing that will fit perfectly into the 2-3 zone. He’s a determined rebounder, averaging nearly as many rebounds as Hughes in half the minutes.
Boeheim has proven throughout his career that he can create stars from quiet names in the transfer pool with names like Hughes, Wes Johnson and Jason Cipolla. Griffin has the potential to be added to the list, and SU may have just found the perfect successor to Hughes.