After one year in Durham, AJ Griffin's professional career is taking flight.
Following in the footsteps of many of his teammates, Griffin announced Sunday via Instagram that he will forgo his remaining eligibility and declare for the 2022 NBA Draft.
"AJ was one of best shooters in the nation and his skillset is exactly what NBA teams are looking for," former head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a team release Sunday. "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."
All in all, the Ossining, N.Y., product put together a successful season at Duke, highlighted by a career-high 27 points against North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Griffin's scoring was not always consistent, but to his credit, the freshman forward remained remarkably consistent in his 3-point shooting and showed significant promise as a threat from downtown.
Griffin led the team with his 44.7% 3-point shooting on 159 tries from deep and made 49.3% of his attempts from the floor. His most successful 3-point shooting outings included a 5-for-5 showing against Louisville and a 6-of-10 game against Syracuse near the end of the regular season, not to mention his 18 points against Arkansas in the Elite Eight.
Though Griffin's defense is not as polished as his offensive game, he nonetheless proved why he came to Duke as a top-tier recruit and why he’ll most likely leave as a top NBA prospect following his 3-point success and lights-out showing against the Tar Heels in February.
The freshman says goodbye to Duke after averaging 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game and earning ACC All-Rookie Team and All-ACC Honorable Mention recognition.
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Andrew Long is a Trinity sophomore and Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.