By: Isaiah Blakely
Senior LaDarien Griffin’s St. Bonaventure career started with him averaging 0.5 points per game freshmen year. Now Griffin is the reigning A-10 co-Most Improved player of the year and is looking to carry that momentum into his senior season.
Head coach Mark Schmidt had high praise for Griffin.
“He epitomizes what we try to do at Bonaventure,” said Schmidt. “He came up as a freshman didn’t get any playing time. Most guys especially in today’s environment, they leave… He knew he wasn’t ready yet and he kept on working,” said Schmidt.
Griffin described his first three years at St. Bonaventure as “amazing”. Griffin added that there were, “A lot of ups and downs. A lot of growth on and off the court. It’s just been an amazing experience.”
Griffin averaged 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season helping the Bonnies reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This year’s team is a much younger team and is no longer led by Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley. The Bonnies are projected to finish 9th in the conference this season which is much lower than their projection last season. Griffin talked about his expectations, and that the only thing that is different is the outside noise is a little easier to handle.
“They always felt the same to me I don’t really listen to other people’s expectations. I kind of go off my own and set my own highs regardless of who’s on the court with me,” said Griffin.
Griffin is looking to help the Bonnies achieve similar success to last season.
“Try to win as many games as possible. Try to get top seed in the A-10 and try to get to the tournament again,” said Griffin. “I feel like that’s everybody’s goal regardless of veteran team or young team. That’s the goal when you come into every season, so you got to work like it,” said Griffin.
Griffin spoke about what the Bonnies have to do to give themselves a chance of reaching their goal of going back to the NCAA tournament.
“Going in with the urgency. You kind of understand what it takes to get a little bit of success and just carry it on to the rest of your life and the game. And I think the urgency is the most important thing,” said Griffin.
Griffin strives to continue to help this team and he talked about what he worked on over the summer to make himself more versatile.
“Shooting. Just trying to get stronger being more versatile. I think that’s the biggest thing probably my versatility to help this team, “said Griffin.
Schmidt talked about Griffin’s versatility.
“He’s shooting the ball better now. We can do a lot of picking and popping with him now. He’s a legitimate four man,” said Schmidt. “But we can also go small like we did last year a lot. He’s long enough to be able to guard that, and he’s stronger then he appears and now we can run some ball screen stuff with him being a five man. That’s hard to guard”
Schmidt also talked about Griffin’s personality as a leader.
“He’s got that personality that he doesn’t think he’s better than anybody. He’s humble,” said Schmidt.
The Jacksonville, Florida native spoke about what it’s been like as a senior leader.
“You can’t have a lot of mistakes,” said Griffin. “You got to try to be perfect, try to do things the right way all the time. For me it’s just being more of a leader to these young guys and show them what we have to do.”
Griffin also spoke about what he wants to be remembered for when his four years are done, and it had little to do with basketball.
“With nothing I did on the court. Probably just that I was able to help other people, bring joy to others just remember me as a person as a student instead of not just the basketball player,” said Griffin.
The senior forward begins solidifying his legacy Wednesday night against the Bucknell Bisons in the Reilly Center.