Though Duke basketball fans know all too well how knee problems as a prep can dampen a prized recruit’s brief stay in Durham, they need not stress over one future Blue Devils’ recent setback.
Ball Durham’s Kevin Connelly was at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, N.Y., last Friday night solely to watch Archbishop Stepinac junior small forward A.J. Griffin in action. What this site’s co-expert had hoped not to see was the 2021 Duke basketball commit fall to the floor late in the game with what looked at the time like a grim injury to his left knee.
So the MRI results this week, as Varsity Insider’s Josh Thomson reported on Tuesday, provided a sigh of relief:
No ligament damage. No more than two to three weeks to return. No Harry Giles, Part Two. Whew!
The news must be extra comforting for Griffin’s teammates — including a five-star 2020 guard in UNC signee R.J. Davis — considering the 6-foot-7, 200-pound phenom ranks No. 8 on the 247Sports 2021 Composite and resembles former Duke basketball star R.J. Barrett with his powerful drives, acrobatic finishes, and chiseled frame.
“Griffin missed some time last season with a foot injury,” Zagoria explained, “but came back to help the USA Basketball U16 Team win a gold medal at the FIBA Americas Men’s U16 Championship in Brazil in June. He suffered a strained back when he dove for a ball in the gold-medal game against Canada and then missed Peach Jam with the PSA Cardinals.”
Still the nation’s only five-star junior to have chosen a college, Griffin also remains Duke’s only 2021 pledge (his announcement came on Nov. 4).
Mike Krzyzewski has extended offers to seven other prospects from the class: The Patrick School (N.J.) five-star small forward Jonathan Kuminga, Hamilton (Wis.) five-star small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., O’Dea (Wash.) five-star power forward Paolo Banchero, Rolling Meadows (Ill.) five-star shooting guard Max Christie, Briarcrest Christian (Tenn.) five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler, Paul VI Catholic (Va.) four-star shooting guard Trevor Keels, and Andrews Osborne Academy (Ohio) four-star center Charles Bediako.