Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Johnny Griffin Jr. works hard on and off the court

Johnny Griffin, Jr., management senior, shoots free throws at practice. Griffin took Loyola’s basketball team by storm last year with his entertaining style of play. Photo credit: Kameron Hay

Business management senior and team captain of the basketball team Johnny Griffin, Jr. looks to build off of an impressive junior campaign in the hopes of claiming a Southern States Athletic Conference title.

As a transfer from Chicago State University last year, Griffin stepped into the Wolfpack’s lineup and had a significant impact. According to Loyola athletics, Griffin put up team-highs scoring 15.0 points per game, made 162 field goals, played 918 minutes, had 9.8 rebounds per game, made 122 free throws, tallied 450 points and broke the Loyola basketball single-season record for rebounds with 287.

If you attended a Loyola basketball game last year, the Chicago native’s high-flying, above-the-rim plays were sure to catch your attention.

While he’s settled into life at Loyola now, transferring to New Orleans from his hometown of Chicago was something that Griffin patiently felt out.

“New Orleans is a great city and Loyola is a great school,” Griffin said. “I got a chance to come and meet the coach, the players, the guys and everything. I felt like when I came on my visit I really connected with the players. I actually made the decision after being here for a couple of days.”

From a transfer to a standout player on his new team, Griffin soon became a familiar name in Loyola sports.

Griffin knows this year is his last, and because of that, he is putting in the hard work to improve his game.

“I’m just mentally preparing myself right now. I know the game is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical,” Griffin said.

Griffin is also quick to critique himself, saying that he needs to work on his ball handling, shot mechanics and free throw shooting in order to become the player he wants to be this season.

As a junior last year, Griffin made first team all-conference, third-team All-State by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and garnered a D-1 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American honorable mention.

In addition to these honors, Griffin’s favorite moment from last season was when one of his dunks against Dillard University was featured on CBS Sports and ESPN’s show “His and Hers,” something he said he worked his whole career for.

Griffin believes he has the skill and work ethic to improve upon these distinctions.

“I want to be player of the year in our conference and I want to be national player of the year, too. I was an honorable mention All-American, but I want to be first team All-American this season,” Griffin said.

While Griffin creates many goals for himself, he knows that hard work is what will set his game apart from others.

“Basically all the awards I got last year, I want to do better than what I did. This is my last year and I want to go out the right way, and I know I won’t be able to do that unless I work hard,” Griffin said.

Griffin sees his work ethic as a way to measure his success, and the more he continues to work, the easier it will be for him to continue his soaring, physical and entertaining style of play.

“I got to work three times as hard. I gave 100 percent last year; I got to give 110 percent this year. I need to keep improving each day,” Griffin said.

As a team leader, Griffin believes his team has the brains and team chemistry to succeed and move up the conference rankings.

“I mean you got guys at certain positions, and everybody knows their role. All our guys, we were top five in the country in academics last year with a 3.2 grade average for the team. We basically know what we got to do in order to be successful,” Griffin said.

Griffin said that the team goal for the season is to win the conference title and even become national champions, something he said is no easy task.

Outside of basketball, Griffin is an average college student with different hobbies, and you just might get a chance to hear him sing if you get to know him.

“I like to sing a lot. I’m a pretty chill, laid back guy. I also like to go see movies and bowl in my off time,” Griffin said.

Griffin said he is ready to get better every day to accomplish his goal of being better than he was a season ago; a lesson not only in sports, but in life.

Griffin and the Wolf Pack open up pre-season play against Carver Bible College on Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at First NBC Court.

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About the Contributor
Brian Wollitz
Brian Wollitz, Sports Editor
Brian Wollitz is a junior at Loyola studying mass communication with a focus in journalism and a minor in music industry studies. Outside of the Maroon, Brian plays rugby for Loyola as well as playing keyboards and singing in his band Tight Squeeze, back home in Pacifica, California. Contact: [email protected] or @brian_wollitz

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