The Illini coaching staff has been hitting the recruting trail hard since the season ended last wedensday. In particular, New York and New Jersey where illinois has offered several 2018/19 kids. Assistant coach Orlando Antigua has very good connections and ties to the area and on the final trip of the season, the staff took advantage of that.
Antigua and head coach Brad Underwood were on hand to watch Alan put up 29 points and 11 rebounds February 24th before their final regular season game at rutgers. That was enough for the staff to offer Alan after having a stellar senior season. As some of you may remember, Griffin visited Illinois last June unofficially. The staff wanted to see how his game developed, and he showed he is a high major player.
Alan has been around the game since he was a little boy with his father Adrien having played and now coaching in the NBA. He even spent his first two years in HS playing in the Chicago area while his dad was a Chicago Bulls assistant. Hoops is in his DNA and illinois was a place he considered home. I got a chance to speak with Alan and his head Coach Patrick Massaroni of Arch bishop Stepinac over the weekend about why he chose Illinois and what kind of player Illinois will be getting.
Q&A with Alan Griffin and Patrick Massaroni
I could tell how excited and happy Alan was after his verbal commitment. I asked him what the deciding factor was and if he was considering any of the other schools who offered or pursing him. He told me “Well I visited there in the summer and it was great I loved the campus and it already felt like home to me and just to go back home and just be 2 hours away from where I lived is great. Honestly I wasn’t considering any other schools, Illinois is where I wanted to be.”
I wanted to know what Alan felt he will bring to Champaign game he arrives this summer. Alan said “I can bring offense, energy, defense and be a two way play, and get my teammates involved and make sure they’re just as locked in as I am.”
Alan told me he plans on taking his official visit once his season is done. One person who knows Alan well and has gotten to see him grow over the last couple of seasons is Stepinac HS head coach Patrick Massaroni. He gave me some time to discuss Alan’s game.
Patrick told me “One of the most underrated parts of his game is ability to defend multiple positions and rebound bigger then his size. He has a great motor and knows the game well, his basketball IQ is off the charts.”
Alan didn’t have many power five offers but had just received an offer from St. Johns. Coach Massaroni believed Alan deserved more attention. He said “Alan was banged up a bit last summer during AAU and that affected his recruitment. Alan is a steal, kids a winner. He’s been a part of over 50 wins in his two seasons. Xavier was coming to see him Sunday. Rutgers and Minnesota had been in twice in the last 3 weeks. Seton Hall came in along with Cal. He is the real deal and shoots at a high level.”
Swami’ s Take
With the high praise from his coach alongside the late interest from many schools who have had success in recent memory, don’t take his lack of offers or star ranking distract you from an extreme talent. Alan is an elite shooter and very good defender, he’s a legit 6’5 and will crash the boards with aggression. Alan will bring a huge chip on his shoulder to Champaign. He has confidence and will be a key piece going forward as an Illini. Brad Underwood is recruting pieces to the puzzle of success. Illinois lacks quality shooting and high basketball intelligence, Alan brings both and most importantly he feels illinois is home. The staff wants kids who want to be an Illini. Alan fits the bill with Flying colors