Before the NBA’s age limit went in to effect, the typical one and done college player was a kid that scouts were scared of in high school. A kid with character issues. A kid that needed a year of college to “mature.”
A kid like Eddie Griffin, whose turbulent year at Seton Hall answered the questions everyone had during his senior season at Roman Catholic in Philly, where he was arguably the best player in the country.
Without question, Eddie Griffin was a major risk. And still, his ability, which NBAdraft.net compared to Tim Duncan’s, outweighed the obvious.
Griffin died in a horrific accident last week when he crashed his SUV into a moving freight train. Sadly, his tragic death came as a surprise to very few people. Griffin, who was just 25, battled alcoholism his entire professional career, which led to various run-ins with the law.
It times like these that all sports, especially basketball, need to look in the mirror. For all of those wonderful stories you hear about players who overcome the streets because of their ability to play a game, the truth is: sports exploit athletes.
That’s what happened to Griffin. There were red flags surrounding him every step of the way, but teams looked past his problems because he was an athletic 6’10. Talent was always a reason to give him the benefit of the doubt.
And look where it got him.