Later on, it was discovered that the wear on his back had caused a stress fracture in a vertebrae. The fracture has kept him off the court so far this winter. However, it appears that he will be able to play very soon.
"My back is doing well. I should be back to playing in three to four weeks," said McKenzie. "I am in the process of strengthing my legs so I can play well in the state tournament and go a long way in the tournament."
McKenzie also said the time off from basketball and physical therapy have gone a long way in healing the back. He has been treating at Beacon Orthopaedics with Dr. Henry Stein and Dr. Timothy Kremchek (Cincinnati Reds team physician). McKenzie said the doctors told him there is no risk of long term damage.
Even without McKenzie, Moeller has had a lot of success starting the season 9-1 and 4-0 in the rough GCL conference. As such, McKenzie explained that he does not want to upset the balance already established when he comes back. "They have had a lot of success. So far they are doing really well on defense and pressuring the ball. When I come back, I will work myself into the chemistry of the team. Everyone is sharing the ball. Nobody is being selfish at all. I will do whatever I can to help the team."
During the summer team camps, McKenzie was averaging approximately 20 points per game from Moeller. His return could turn a very good team into a great team.
McKenzie previously told RedHawk Insider that his game is comparable to NBA star Dirk Norwitzski. He says he can play facing the basket or with his back to the basket. He can also defensively guard both on the perimeter and in the post.
As a result of his injuries, he recruiting has been put on hold while schools wait to see how he comes back. His original plan to make a decision this spring when the high school season is over has now been moved back. He also canceled his scheduled unofficial visit to Notre Dame. At this point, he is just more focused on getting better.
McKenzie previously told RedHawk Insider that the schools interested in him are "Miami(OH), Cincinnati, Notre Dame, Butler, Purdue, Iowa, Ohio State, West Virginia, Wright State, Indiana, Xavier, Wisconsin, Dayton, and Michigan." Of those, Cincinnati, Miami, and Ohio have offered a scholarship.
McKenzie said his top six schools are Notre Dame, Xavier, Butler, Ohio State, Cincinnati and Miami.
As for Miami specifically, McKenzie said, "I definitely like Miami. Great campus and I like the coaching staff a lot."
During the summer McKenzie visited Miami during Miami's team camp in which Moeller was participating. McKenzie previously said about the visit, "It went very well. The coaches showed me around campus. I got to see the academic buildings. They showed me what it would be like to be a student-athlete. Then they offered me at the end of the visit." McKenzie also said the Miami coaching staff was "very friendly" and described the program as having a "family atmosphere."
McKenzie keeps in contact with two current members of the Miami basketball program who also happen to be Moeller basketball alumni: Miami assistant Jason Grunkemeyer and Miami senior Tyler Dierkers. McKenzie frequently talks to Coach Grunkemeyer and keeps the coach updated about the progress on his back. As for Dierkers, he said, "I definitely talk to Tyler Dierkers. My AAU team scrimmaged him and his friends."
McKenzie said he played well with his All-Ohio Force teammates Bill Edwards (Miami offer) and Miami signee Allen Roberts. McKenzie added, "I would consider playing with them in college." He continues to keep in contact with his Force teammates. "We are all pretty good friends."
This summer, McKenzie is unsure of which AAU team he will play with as All-Ohio Force, a senior team last summer, is now disbanded. Eight different teams have contacted him including All-Ohio Red, a team he played with two years ago All-Ohio Red is one of the best teams in the nation and lost just one game last year.
McKenzie is a good student who "enjoys the education process." He maintained a GPA of 3.8 through his sophomore year.
Stayed tuned to RedHawk Insider as we follow Griffin McKenzie in the future.