Freshman guard Gavin Griffiths is coming to the Banks with high expectations. When Griffiths committed to play for the Rutgers men's basketball team, he was the Scarlet Knights' highest-ranked freshman recruit.
Griffiths was a prolific shooter in high school, and due to this, many pundits projected him to start for Rutgers as a freshman.
The weight of expectations can hang heavy on many freshmen's heads, but Griffiths is just focusing on what he can do to help the team win.
"It's not something I think of," Griffiths said. "I think of just trying to help the team as much as I can."
Griffiths seemed undaunted when reflecting on his first collegiate offseason. An offseason that saw Griffiths travel to Senegal and Portugal with the team and score 14 points against St. Johns in an exhibition game.
"It’s been good, just adjusting to everything," he said. "I am having a great time practicing every day, having a lot of fun."
Another trait that will make Griffiths an offensive asset is his work ethic and versatility.
"Gavin loves to be in the gym," head coach Steve Pikiell said. "He's athletic too, really athletic, so everyone labels him a shooter, which he is, but he does a lot of things. He can pass, he can handle the ball, he's a good worker and the guys like him, so he's going to have a really good year."
Standing at 6-foot-8 and weighing 193 pounds, Griffiths can play combo guard, small forward and can even play power forward. Pikiell will likely shift what position he is playing based on the lineup that is around him, and this versatility will allow Griffiths to play with multiple lineups.
"Whatever the coaching staff decides they need me to do, that's what I am going to try and do," Griffiths said. "Whatever position they decide is best for me to play, whatever role they decide, is what I am going to try and do."
Though Griffiths has been labeled as a shooter, in the open practice, Griffiths made some plays where he drove to the basket and scored over a larger defender. He also showed impressive jumping ability, throwing down a dunk in practice. Griffiths brings a tantalizing scoring skill set that could make him the Knights' scoring leader in just his freshman season.
Even if he is not Rutgers' scoring leader, his shooting prowess will force opposing defenses to pay attention to him, and that could open up space for other players.
While Griffiths' defense will need to improve, Pikiell has a long track record of turning players into great defenders.
Griffiths has spent an offseason getting ready for the season-opener and fans have spent an offseason getting excited to see Griffiths play on the court. Expect to hear a big roar from the crowd when his first made shot swishes through the net.
"I am very excited for my first home game in college. That's something I am looking forward to for sure," Griffiths said.
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