+0 - 0  by

Player Preview: LaDarien Griffin

Griffin is going to be asked to contribute right away to this Bonnies team.

Player: LaDarien Griffin, 6-7, 200 lb. Freshman Forward 

The Low Down: Griffin comes to Olean as a semi-highly regarded wing who may or may not be a bit of a project. All that is to say he’s a question mark entering his freshman season. What we do know about Griffin is that he’s exactly the type of player Mark Schmidt loves to recruit: long, athletic wings who run the floor well and excel in transition. These players also often tend to be poor shooters and almost always come with a short leash. If he’s going to play down on the blocks he’s going to have to pack on some more muscle (like almost all freshman big men) but it appears the ceiling is high for Griffin. Now, it really becomes a question of how quickly does he develop and he much is he asked to play (likely a lot) given the Bonnies’ short bench and lack of interior options. The injury last week to Stockard absolutely means Griffin will see the floor given the team is down to 8 ‘ship players. Everyone is going to have to contribute in 2015-2016; ready or not.

Quotable: “LaDarien is a long, athletic combo forward who can excel in our up-tempo style.”

One Fact: Was a high school teammate of current Duke guard Grayson Allen. Both parents were in the Navy…so two facts.

Last Year by the numbers: Averaged 12.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and made 78 percent of his free throws. Third Team all-state 3A in Florida. Rated Florida’s 50th best player.

Biggest Strength: Athleticism and length. Schmidt has to have visions of a young Conger when he sees Griffin get up and down the floor. If the Bonnies are going to deploy a run and gun system with lots of fast-breaking and quick possessions, Griffin has a chance to speed up his maturation process. He can get up and down and this will help mask some developmental delays in his game. 

Glaring Weakness: It appears Griffin needs to add some muscle if he’s going to play the four (which he is). Again, given the Bonnies’ choice in style of play, this could be a big factor or a small one. If Schmidt’s club slows it down and plays at a pace similar to last year Griffin’s lack of polish and size on the blocks could be an issue. Thus, it makes great sense on a number of levels for the Bonnies to push the basketball this year to deflect attention from their biggest weakness: interior depth. 

Best Case: Conger-like athlete who becomes a really solid A10 player in year two and an all-league type by junior year. 

Worst Case: Gets pounded down low and isn’t ready from a physical or talent standpoint to help the team this season. 


+ 0 - 0

A member of the class of 2008, Nolan spent four years as a student assistant with the program. He has written professionally for such outlets as espn.com/insider, Athlon Sports Magazines, Cox Sports Online and Blue Ribbon Previews. Ian was named one of the “140 Personalities to Follow in College Basketball” on twitter by The Sporting News.