Duke’s new commit, AJ Griffin, is from the White Plains, New York area, and the hometown paper is pretty excited that he’s big time enough to sign with a program like Duke.
What people may not be thinking about as much is that he fits Duke’s profile in several ways. He’s from a stable family (Duke sees this as a plus but not a requirement, something that seriously irritated and apparently still irritates Fab Fiver Jalen Rose). His family also is a basketball family, and that’s something else that is fairly common at Duke: think Danny Ferry, Bobby Hurley, Mike Dunleavy, Kyrie Irving, Chris Collins, Seth Curry, Jeff Capel, Greg Paulus, Shavlik Randolph, Nolan Smith, Grant Hill, Kyle Singler, Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Alex O’ Connell and, uh, Michael Savarino.
Before anyone points out that Hill’s dad, Calvin played football, it’s the same basic idea: he understands what it takes to commit to athletics and academics. That’s true for Paulus too and Thomas Hill, whose father was a track star if we remember correctly.
We don’t know much about White Plains but see that it is just barely in New York, missing Connecticut by just a bit. And it has sent some truly spectacular people out into the broader world, including David Harbour of Stranger Things fame, James Whitmore, author Joseph Campbell, the NBA’s Channing Frye, NFL legend Art Monk, Jewish reggae/rapper/beatboxer/singer Matisyahu (well you learn something every day, don’t you?) and, for better or worse, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.