‘I Can Do This:’ NBA Draft Prospect AJ Griffin Fueled by Doubters – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

“I Can Do This:” NBA draft nominee AJ Griffin, fueled by doubters, originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

AJ Griffin may only be 18, but the former Duke star is confident he’s ready to pursue his dream in the NBA.

Despite his strong stance on entering the 2022 NBA draft, others have questioned Griffin’s willingness to go pro. But that’s what drives the 6-foot-6-small forward’s motivation.

“People say, ‘Come back a year, you’re not ready’ and stuff like that, then you’re more motivated to prove to everyone that ‘I can do this,'” Griffin told NBC Sports.

Griffin played a stellar year at Duke under legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski.

He started in 25 games, averaging 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. En route to the Blue Devils’ appearance in the 2022 NCAA Final Four, Griffin recorded 11 points and seven rebounds in the Sweet 16 against Texas Tech and posted a team-high 18 points in the Elite Eight against Arkansas.

“They’re going to be like, ‘Oh, you can’t do this, you can’t do this,’ and that made me want to work harder,” Griffin said.

Another reason the public is questioning Griffin’s readiness is the time he’s spent dealing with injuries. In high school, Griffin missed almost two seasons after sustaining knee and ankle injuries.

“[Watching the 2022 NBA playoffs] I definitely learned the intensity,” Griffin said. “It’s not just about who’s the best team, it’s who’s healthy and in shape — all of those things add up to win a playoff game.”

Griffin will be following in the footsteps of his father Adrian, who played nine seasons in the NBA and is now the assistant coach of the Toronto Raptors.

While Adrian was not drafted in 1996, AJ is a prospective lottery winner. He’s one of five Duke products, along with Paolo Banchero, Mark Williams, Wendell Moore and Trevor Keels, to have their name heard at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“I’ve dreamed of walking on this stage almost my entire life,” Griffin said.

Griffin prepared for the big day and was personally styled from head to toe by Neiman Marcus using a curated selection of leading designers.

Griffin enjoys the fashion aspect of basketball and is able to leave his “brand and personality” through his looks.

“Look good, feel good, play good,” he said.

The 2022 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

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