Take the case of Tyler Griffey. Before the 6-8 forward had even played a minute at Wildwood (MO) Lafayette in the St. Louis suburbs, the lanky and skilled teenager had created a buzz around the Midwest. Then he opened up a sparkling freshman season by posting 26 point and 12 rebounds during his first varsity game and the ball really got rolling.
The 16 year old enjoys the attention, but can’t help but find it a little uneasy at times.
“It’s kind of awkward really, everybody coming after a 16 year old kid,” said Griffey who also set his school’s career blocked shot record during his freshman year. “It’s kind of like why me? I just want to play.”
He’s still playing the game, only now college coaches are flocking to see him take the court. There’s plenty of early interest from places like Purdue, Stanford, Missouri, Illinois, St. Louis, and Louisville. Kansas head coach Bill Self was also in recently.
Because he’s only sophomore, schools have limited contact with Griffey and according to his father Chris that’s made things a bit more manageable.
“Because he’s a sophomore the coaches can’t even really talk to him,” the elder Griffey told Phog.Net. “We don’t have to worry about it since they can’t really talk to us. It’s taken a lot of pressure off of us.”
So what is it about Griffey that has enabled him to experience so much early success and generate college interest? Ask his father and he’ll tell you he’s not sure and that it’s all based on potential, but the sophomore isn’t getting watched so closely without good reason.
He’s more than likely still growing and has a wingspan over seven feet. He runs the court well, elevates for jams, uses good footwork in the post and has excellent mechanics on his jump shot that make him dangerous from 15 feet or as far out as the three point line on occasion.
Not surprisingly, Griffey has a strong work ethic to go along with his skills. He also embraces the fact that people have high expectations for him whenever he takes the court.
“When I walk on the court, I can tell they know who I am and I know that I have to focus more,” said Griffey. “I kind of like it. It makes me focus more and it gives me the will to win even more.”
Finally, as he prepares for his sophomore season Griffey has been taking some unofficial visits to help expose him to the college environment. He’s been to Louisville, Illinois, Missouri and St. Louis already and Friday night he’ll be in Lawrence for Late Night festivities.
“We’re heading over to KU this weekend. I’ve read about it (Late Night) and heard about it before so I thought it would be good for him to see,” said Chris Griffey of why he and his son will make the trip. “I think Coach Self will be glad to see him. But, I don’t do it for the attention. I just think it’s good for him to see these different places.”