At the beginning of each new year, Phenom Hoops works to assemble a series of articles centered around unsigned senior prospects. Last season, over one hundred players from North Carolina went on to play at the Division I, II, III or NAIA levels, and that number looks likely to continue increasing with the current senior class. Typically, we take a closer look at guys who are overlooked and underrated, and today’s edition will highlight Owen Griffith of Northern Guilford.
We’ve seen Griffith with the Nighthawks numerous times this season, including their game against Eastern Alamance, where we stated, “While the other three might receive more attention, it’s impossible to ignore the value that Griffith brings to this roster. His tough, unselfish, high-motor identity truly allows him to run the offense while outworking his assignment defensively and operating within a low-maintenance role. Griffith possesses a quality nose for the ball, able to consistently secure rebounds, loose balls, and second-chance opportunities—despite being one of the smallest players on the court. He’s the type of difference-maker that pretty much every high school program requires.” We later saw Griffith against Person, where we stated, “While Griffith might not get much attention in the bigger scheme of things, his contributions are undeniably valuable to this group. Very few players in high school basketball show such an unselfishness and willingness to truly play for the team, but Griffith is a clear exception. He plays with an incredible motor and overall amount of energy, which naturally leads to his extremely pesky defensive presence at the point of attack. Griffith doesn’t look to score because he doesn’t need to score in order for this team to be at their best. He’s terrific at keeping the ball moving or attacking the basket to set up others.”
This article comes on the heels of his snub from the All-Conference team, which is a genuine travesty. If they chose to pass on someone who legitimately embraces their role and maximizes being a team-first guy like Griffith, then it’s extremely difficult to see a scenario where a role player or hustle guy will ever be rewarded with the honor. It would appear that posting massive scoring totals for winless teams seems to capture the attention of the selection committee more than actual contributions to winning basketball games (for an undefeated regular season team, no less)—something Griffith truly offers. The notion is somewhat disheartening, but should still ultimately allow for the heady, scrappy, unselfish, defensive-minded floor general to receive opportunities at the next level.