Duke basketball: Where AJ Griffin ranks among top 3-point shooters

Duke basketball forward AJ Griffin (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward AJ Griffin (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

Does anyone possess a silkier three-ball than Duke basketball’s AJ Griffin?

As the program’s official stats account tweeted on Sunday, Duke basketball freshman small forward AJ Griffin is currently one of only three major conference players shooting better than 50 percent from 3-point range with at least 50 attempts.

The other two on that list are Marquette Golden Eagles junior shooting guard Greg Elliot at 27-for-53 (50.9 percent) and Notre Dame Fighting Irish senior shooting guard Dane Goodwin at 48-for-96 (50.0 percent).

Following his 5-for-5 clip for the No. 9 Duke Blue Devils (17-3, 7-2 ACC) in Saturday’s 74-65 road win over the Louisville Cardinals (11-10, 5-6 ACC), Griffin is now shooting 32-for-64 (50.0 percent) beyond the arc for the season.

The continued rise of Duke basketball star AJ Griffin

AJ Griffin, a projected one-and-done lottery pick who is still only 18 years old, may still be heating up from downtown. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound former five-star recruit out of New York is 10-for-15 (66.7 percent) across the past three contests, 16-for-28 (57.1 percent) since his move into the starting lineup six games ago, and 20-for-38 (52.6 percent) in conference play.

Sure, he’s averaging only 8.9 points and 3.2 rebounds for the season. But remember that Griffin played sparingly in November and December as he recovered from a preseason knee injury. In terms of points per 40 minutes for Duke, his 18.3 mark trails only freshman power forward Paolo Banchero (22.6) and sophomore center Mark Williams (18.4).

Finally, consider that Griffin has scored at least 15 points and knocked down at least three 3-pointers in each of the three games he’s played at least 30 minutes, including his game-high 22 points and impressive halftime buzzer-beater last time out.

Given enough playing time, Griffin might be one of the nation’s most lethal 3-point weapons — and perhaps among the best players, period.

He and the Blue Devils face Dane Goodwin and the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Ind., at 7 p.m. ET Monday.

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Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more on AJ Griffin’s hot hand, plus other Duke basketball news and views.