Really… how good is Tyler Griffey? He's a 6'9" power forward from Ballwin, MO who is rated as a four-star recruit at Scout.com. Griffey's game is very polished for such a young man, but he knew he needed to get stronger and continue to work.
Recently ESPN's Joel Francisco wrote a recap on high school basketball at the Adidas Nations scrimmage in Los Angeles. In his story, Francisco was very impressed with Griffey's overall play and listed the future Illini as one of five top players participating in the event.
"I originally had Griffey slated for the surprise list, but as the scrimmage wore on his stock elevated to the standout category," Francisco wrote. "Despite all the talent that was on display in the Bruin Gym, Griffey's savvy and skills at the 4/3 were impressive. His jump shot, with range out to 20-feet, is smooth and he's extremely effective nailing it in transition. In addition to his shooting touch, he has the ability to post up and displayed a nifty jump hook. He's a solid athlete with a very mature game, which should translate very well to Bruce Weber's motion offense at Illinois."
The forward from Missouri has already shown resiliency in settings well beyond the Show Me State.
"When we played in Africa we took second and lost to France by two points. Our team was down by 24 points at one time but we battled back," Griffey said. "They pressed us the entire game. That was tough because we only had eight players, but battling back and losing by two showed some character."
Not only did the young athlete take in some good basketball but he also noticed a different atmosphere in Africa. "I'm very thankful for what I have at home," Griffey stated.
And Griffey is thankful for a bright future at Illinois. When asked about being a sleeper and what the expectations will be like and his future teammates, he gave all the right answers. "I really don't see myself as being the sleeper in the class," Griffey said.
"It's good that people are saying good things about me, but I try not to read too much into those things. I just want to improve and reach all my goals along with my teammates."
And Griffey has some experience when it comes to bonding with his future Illini basketball family.
"I was able to see some of the guys play in a shootout in Champaign a few weeks back," Griffey said. "That was good to see because I had not met Joseph Bertrand before; he was great by the way. I talk to Brandon Paul a lot so I know him pretty good. Also it was a good trip for me because I didn't play that weekend and it gave me a lot of time to sit down and just hang out with Coach Weber and just talk."
Its July 1st today and there's a lot of basketball left to be played, but Griffey admits he's wearing down a bit. "I've done a lot of traveling, but some rest would be good," Griffey stated. "I'm not sure when but I will be in Cincinnati next for basketball. I'll be ready when the time comes."
Griffey definitely has the potential to play a major role in the success of Illinois basketball in the future. He could be a key contributor when it comes to getting the Illini back in the national spotlight.