No Sophomore Slump for Avon's Griffin

Avon's Kendall Griffin hasn't had too much trouble adjusting to being his team's No. 1 scoring option as a sophomore. After all, he did it as a freshman as well. He's also getting plenty of recruiting interest, Indiana included...

Avon's Kendall Griffin hasn't had too much trouble adjusting to being his team's No. 1 scoring option as a sophomore.

After all, he did it as a freshman as well.

The 6'5" wing not only played on Coach Jason Young's varsity last season, but was the team's leading scorer and rebounder. He's picked up where he left off during his sophomore season, averaging 12.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals despite becoming a marked man for opposing defenses.

He's also becoming a coveted recruit for college coaches, who have been making frequent stops at Avon H.S. to see him and freshman teammate Austin Burgett. Indiana, Purdue, Notre Dame, Northwestern and Xavier are among the programs that have already stopped off at the Indianapolis-area school to see the duo either play or practice.

"Kendall was the one on everyone's radar after the summer," said Young, who accompanied the duo to Bloomington last weekend for an unofficial visit to watch IU's game against Minnesota. "He's a great kid that does a little bit of everything for us. All of the coaches came in the fall to watch workouts and we had Austin in the same group and they all left wanting information on Austin as well."

While Burgett is a blossoming big man, Griffin is an athletic wing who can score in a variety of ways. A 4.0 student whose sister, Katie, is headed to Purdue next fall on a volleyball scholarship, Kendall was also Avon's second-leading receiver in football in the fall with 28 receptions for 503 yards and seven touchdowns.

Griffin might not be ready to give up football anytime soon, but he knows basketball is the sport he'll likely be playing at the collegiate level.

"I think he was getting some looks in football, but I think the recruiting in basketball has picked up so much, I think he knows he'll have an opportunity in basketball if he keeps improving," Young said.

The area that Griffin is expected to shore up the most is his ball handling, and that figures to be his focus in the off-season. He's already a very good perimeter shooter who led his team in 3-point shooting as a freshman, but as he's become the focal point of opposing defenses he's having to refine other areas of his game to find ways to score.

"He's had to improve coming off screens and setting his man up," Young said. "His teammates are doing a better job of screening for him and getting him the ball in the right position. I think it's going to make him a better player having to work that much harder to get open."

IU's coaching staff also figures to continue to watch him. Young said both of his young players have handled the early recruiting attention well, knowing that there are still plenty of high school basketball ahead of them before they can think about the chance of playing at the college level.

"They realize nothing is guaranteed," Young said.

In the meantime, Young is excited about the prospects of a couple of very good years for the Avon H.S. team. In addition to Griffin and Burgett, Young's team also has sophomore point guard JaJuan Sarver who started as a freshman. That gives him a trio of youngsters who are getting plenty of experience and should form the nucleus of some very good teams.

"We're very excited," said Young, whose team is 7-7 this season. "With those three guys we think we can be pretty good for the next couple of years. We've lost some tough games this season and it's no excuse being inexperienced, but we realize we're asking a lot out of a couple of sophomores and a freshman."


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