Stepinac’s Griffin clears mind, makes commitment to Illinois

The recruiting process for a talent like Alan Griffin is never without its share of stress. And that’s the last thing the Stepinac guard wanted entering the biggest game — and, hopefully for the Crusaders, stretch of games — of his life on Sunday.

Griffin got a considerable weight off his shoulders on Friday afternoon when he announced on Twitter that he was verbally committing to play at the University of Illinois.

The 6-foot-5 senior guard had a dozen scholarship offers, including St. John’s, UMass, and local programs Iona and Manhattan. Griffin was gaining considerable interest of late throughout a marvelous season before making his decision on Friday.

“I visited there in the summer and it was great,” Griffin said. I loved the campus and it already felt like home to me. And to just be two hours away from where I lived is great.

“I also got a good feel for the coaching staff, and I’ll get to team up with someone I used to go against all the time in AAU in Ayo Desunomu, which is pretty cool, too.”

Griffin lived outside of Chicago until his sophomore year when he and his siblings — sister Aubrey, a junior star at Ossining and brother A.J., a sophomore at Stepinac — moved to Ossining. Alan Griffin played a year at Ossining before transferring to Stepinac with A.J. before last school year.

The son of former NBA player and current Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Adrian Griffin, Alan came into his own last season and emerged as one of the CHSAA’s elite scorers. His season, however, was cut short in the playoffs by a knee injury.

This season, Griffin is averaging 18.2 points per game and was named first-team All-CHSAA.

Griffin’s focus, however, is now on the league’s greatest prize.

“I’m very relieved now,” Griffin said. “I’m really locked in with no distractions for this run we’re about to have.”

Stepinac faces St. Raymond in the CHSAA quarterfinals at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday at Fordham University, the last game of a four-game marathon. And win and they’ll return to the semifinals against either Molloy, the team they lost to last season, or rival Iona Prep.

Sunday, March 4
at Fordham University
St. Peter’s vs. Christ the King, 1 p.m.
Bishop Loughlin vs. Cardinal Hayes, 2:45 p.m.
Iona Prep vs. Archbishop Mollouy, 4:30 p.m.
St. Raymond vs. Stepinac, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday, March 7

at St. John’s University, 6 and 8 p.m.
Christ the King/St. Peter’s winner vs. Bishop Loughlin/Cardinal Hayes winner
Molloy/Iona Prep winner vs. St. Raymond/Stepinac winner

Sunday, March 11
at Fordham University, 3 p.m.

Follow the Section 1 Basketball Tournament on KDJMedia.com and on Twitter: @KDJMedia1

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