Q & A With Allen Griffin

Allen Griffin's career at Syracuse resembled that of a theme park's best roller coaster. A star at Robeson High School in Brooklyn, Griffin played little his freshman year, not totally unexpected, but his career climbed as a sophomore when he started all 33 games as the team's shooting guard. While sitting on the bench could be rationalized as a first-year player, Griffin found himself back on the bench in his junior year after SU coaches switched him to point guard, and he found himself behind

Definitely, not easy to take. Transferring entered Griffin's mind for a nanosecond, but he took the demotion well considering the circumstances and he came back to have a solid senior season as a starter. Griffin's SU career reached its crescendo that final 2000-2001 season with an SU career- best 31 points in a double overtime win over St. John's at Madison Square Garden.

Now, after a couple of seasons playing in the NBDL and USBL, Allen Griffin is back as an administrative assistant on Coach Jim Boeheim's staff. Things look good again.

The Juice recently chatted with Griffin to see how the roller coaster ride has been going.

Q. How does it feel to be back and involved with the basketball program again?

A. It's cool. I'm having a lot of fun with these guys. We have a great group of guys so that makes it even better. I just try to go out there and spread my knowledge as best I can.

Q. What kind of knowledge are you trying to transfer to the players?

A. The knowledge is that I've been through a lot of what these guys are going through—from playing to sitting to playing. I've been through a lot of situations here so I just try to let them know that there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Q. Does the fact that you had a roller coaster career here help you relate to the players, that their time will come and that better days are ahead, especially for the freshmen?

A. Especially the freshmen. They have a lot of time to improve. I tell them to use each practice and each game as a stepping stone to where you want to be at the end of your career. I just tell them that each practice is important. I tell them, "You can't go out there and go through motions because that's one less day of getting better."

Q. Coach Boeheim has often said that he admired you for the way you dealt with adversity at Syracuse. Does coach Boeheim use your experience as an example for other players?

A. I'm happy that coach thinks of me in that way. It's an honor coming from a Hall of Fame coach. He knows that I was a hard worker. I tell these guys to keep working because it will pay off. I'm the product of that. I just try to relate to them the best I can.

More on this article can be found in this month's issue of The Juice.

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