Despite initial denials about the pledge, Scout.com has confirmed through nearly a dozen sources that Griffey will be the 4th member of the class of 2009 to make Champaign his spot. The power forward out of Ballwin (Mo.) Lafayette, according to a source, will travel to see the Illini host Purdue this weekend.
The pledge comes days after Illinois offered insider Jack Cooley, an in-state near Chicago. With the high number of commitments nationally in the junior class, the assumption could be made that Griffey found his favorite and ended the process.
"I got a call last night and he said that he's going to Illinois," one source told Scout.com. "Every time we were there Weber's been in the gym so I'm not surprised."
***Thursday evening Griffey contacted Scout.com to confirm his commitment to Illinois. He also answered a few questions regarding his commitment.
How did it all go down?
I visited campus three weeks ago and it was my third or fourth time visiting there and I've already gotten a real good feel for the campus, so its always been on my mine. I've been thinking about it more and more after I went up there.
Coach Weber called me Monday night and said ‘we have one scholarship left and we've already offered you, but we are going to have to start offering some other kids.' I was home alone at that time and when my dad came home I told him I wasn't ready to throw away the Illinois offer. So he told me to make a few calls here and he wanted me to sleep on it and see where I would be and this is where I ended up.
What did it come down to? Why Illinois?
Coach Weber and Coach Price have been great throughout the whole process and it's been great getting to know them and their willingness to answer all the questions I had and their honesty. They've showed a lot of class. Also their class coming in is going to be unbelievable and I'm excited to apart of it.
Coach Price was your lead recruiter, how was your relationship?
I've known him since 8th grade or the summer before my 9th grade year and I've gotten to talk to him regularly ever since. I've really gotten to know him and I've built a really good relationship with him and Coach Weber. My high school coach is pretty good friends with Coach Price and Coach Weber and they came up all the time and they talk a lot. I just thought that Illinois was a perfect fit.
Have they talked to you about how you'll fit in at Illinois?
It really all depends on who I can defend. They say offensively I can play the three, but defensively I'm looking at guarding the four right now. I'll be the first to admit that my defense isn't where it needs to be and definitely not for the college level. I just got to keep working on that and hopefully I can keep improving that and become a great defender.