One thing is for sure about Allen Griffin… he's a team player. Griffin starred for Syracuse and always accepted his role, whether that meant backing up at point guard, clamping down defensively on the other team's top scorer, or taking a leading role in bringing the ball up the floor. "I was a pretty talented player in high school," said Griffin, who grew up in Brooklyn and played at Robeson High under Coach Larry Majors. "I always had the opportunity to score. When I got to college, Coach Boeheim sat me down and gave me a role. Whatever he told me to do, I did it. I had a lot of trust in Coach."
Griffin was a combo guard during his career at Syracuse and played in 133 games. To this day, he is one of only five Orangemen to amass at least 400 career assists and 200 assists in a season.
After graduating in 2001, Griffin played overseas in Slovania, and in the NBDL for Ashville. At that point, a chance to get into coaching ended his playing career, when Boeheim offered Griffin a job as the program's Administrative Assistant. "I was responsible for travel arrangements, coordinating meals, checking classes, a little bit of everything. The only thing you're not allowed to do is get on the floor."
During the past year, Griffin was on the sidelines at St. Francis College of New York. "Coach Nash gave me the opportunity to go out on the road and recruit. And I could get out on the floor, work guys out and get guys better. That's what I love… seeing guys improve. I was a gym rat, and I always encourage my guys to be gym rats, and that's what I'll do here at Providence."
Griffin considers himself to be an all-around coach. Known as a defensive guard in his days at the Cuse, Griffin is the type of coach to get out on the floor with the players. "To me, defense is effort, and you've got to push guys to make the effort. I want us to dominate. They constantly hear me talk about dominating. You can be dominating both offensively and defensively, on both sides of the ball. You've just got to build their confidence. And you can make it fun, you can have fun on defense by setting goals and reaching them."
Always important at Providence is recruiting, and Griffin is well aware of the need to get out and bring in talent in a league as competitive as the Big East. "New York City is where most of my connections are, but I would say that the whole Tri-State area is where I'm strongest. Coach DeMeo is unbelievable. When I was on the road, everywhere you turned, you'd see Coach DeMeo. He's a recruiting guru. He's a great guy to learn from, and I know I still have a lot to learn."
"Providence has done a great job getting talented guys in here. Some guys haven't worked out, but sometimes it's because they believe too much in their own hype. It's a small school, but that can be a great thing for a lot of kids. You can get a lot out of Providence. It's a small Big East school with a lot to offer. That's going to be my recruiting pitch."
Griffin was also very familiar with Tim Welsh. "I was on the Syracuse team that beat his Iona team in the NCAAs (Griffin was a freshman). Coach Welsh recruited me in high school. As a matter of fact, my best friend in high school went to play for Coach Welsh at Iona."
The Tim Welsh-Jim Boeheim connection certainly helped Allen Griffin in landing the job at Providence. "Coach Boeheim and Coach Welsh are pretty good friends. Coach Boeheim mentioned me a little to Coach Welsh. I saw Coach DeMeo on the road, and Coach Hopkins, who's a great guy and my best friend, talked to Coach DeMeo about me. They told me that they were bringing in a couple of guys for the position on the staff that opened, and if it got down to me, they'd have me in. I had a few sleepless nights, but they had me in and the interview went well."
"It's a dream job for me. This is what I love doing. This is my passion, seeing young guys grow into men. They can come to me for advice… believe me, I've been through it all. There's a great group of kids here and they have a little bit of a bitter taste in their mouths from last season. They know they can have a special season and they're working hard towards that goal."
Allen Griffin has enjoyed a coaching career that has arced upward very quickly in a very short time. If the players on Providence heed his advice, and follow his selfless example, the Friars could indeed enjoy a special season.
Allen Griffin In His Own Words
Scout Friars Top Stories
S.A.T. NEXT FOR NTAMBWEThe past weeks have been eventful for Joel Ntambwe, a versatile and unheralded 6-foot-8 guard/forward who has been on Providence’s radar from the very beginning. Ntambwe has…
Scout FriarsFriday at 9:01 AM
Locke talks offer explosionShooting guard Noah Locke has been one of the best players in the EYBL this spring and recently had an explosion of offers.
EYBL: Cole Swider talks list, processEMERSON, Ga. -- 2018 forward Cole Swider took the next step in his recruiting process and narrowed his list of schools to eight. Where does he go from here? Who is recruiting him…
Providence Target Ntambwe Talks RecruitingProvidence target Joel Ntambwe, a versatile 6'8 forward, is narrowing down his recruiting options. Here, he discusses his recruitment with ScoutFriars.