Recovery in rearview: Duke basketball commit makes encouraging return

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

A future Duke basketball player is now exhibiting signs that he is all but 100 percent back to his old dominant self.

On Jan. 3, when the injury to Archbishop Stepinac (N.Y.) junior A.J. Griffin occurred, this site’s co-expert, Kevin Connelly, was in attendance and feared the worst for the uber-athletic driving specialist. After all, the five-star Duke basketball commit needed help to get off the court following a non-contact fall and later appeared on the bench wearing an air cast.

A few days later, though, the results from an MRI on his left knee were promising: no ligament damage. So too was the expected recovery time: two to three weeks.

Roughly seven weeks passed, however, before Griffin finally took the floor again on Sunday. Though the 6-foot-7, 200-pound small forward didn’t exactly put up gaudy numbers, he did record a promising 12 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists, per recruiting insider Adam Zagoria, to help his squad bulldoze past Mount Saint Michael, 99-62, and advance to the New York Archdiocesan semifinals on Tuesday.

Plus, Zagoria pointed out that Griffin, who ranks No. 8 overall on the 247Sports 2021 Composite with a beast-mode game similar in style to former Duke basketball one-and-done stars Justise Winslow and R.J. Barrett, joined the 1,000-point club with his effort.

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Griffin, the namesake of former Seton Hall great and current Toronto Raptors lead assistant Adrian Griffin, pledged his allegiance to the Blue Devils back in early November and remains the only piece to Duke’s 2021 class. Granted, it’s still extremely early in the cycle.

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Mike Krzyzewski and his staff have offers on the table to seven others who would arrive the season after next: Briarcrest Christian (Tenn.) five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler, Paul VI Catholic (Va.) four-star shooting guard Trevor Keels, Rolling Meadows (Ill.) five-star shooting guard Max Christie, Hamilton (Wis.) five-star small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., The Patrick School (N.J.) five-star small forward Jonathan Kuminga, O’Dea (Wash.) five-star power forward Paolo Banchero, and Andrews Osborne Academy (Ohio) four-star center Charles Bediako.

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