Parade Of Coaches Watching Archbishop Stepinac's RJ Davis, AJ Griffin

A half dozen Division I assistant coaches lined up on Thursday night at St. Raymond's High School in The Bronx to watch a pair of young stars from White Plains (N.Y.) Archbishop Stepinac.

And they did not leave disappointed.

Coaches from Auburn, Columbia, Georgetown, Penn State, Providence, and Seton Hall were on hand to watch junior point guard R.J. Davis and sophomore wing A.J. Griffin as they balled out in a 91-80 win over Saint Peter's in the New York Catholic League Class AA playoffs.

The 6-foot-7, 196-pound Griffin went off for 39 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals, while 6-0, 172-pound junior point guard Davis tallied 32 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals to propel Stepinac into a quarterfinal game with Xaverian on Sunday at Fordham University. Stepinac is the reigning New York State Federation champion.

"Awesome," one assistant coach on hand said of the duo.

After the game, Georgetown and Auburn became the latest schools to offer Griffin, who runs in the summer with the PSA Cardinals on the Nike EYBL circuit. Providence is the latest to offer Davis, who plays with the NY Rens.



Georgetown is now involved for both players and assistant Akbar Waheed was on hand Thursday. Davis recently visited the Big East school for their game against Villanova.

"It was a good experience, it was a great game," Davis said. "I like how Georgetown gets out and plays fast-paced. They use a lot of ball screens. Coach [Patrick] Ewing is very generous and is a nice guy. He wants me. He wants me to come down and visit and build a relationship with them." Davis said he plans to get down to visit "after my high school season." 

"Georgetown amongst other schools are [making me a priority]," Davis said.



Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin has also been in to see Davis several times.

"Coach Cronin, he loves my game," Davis said. "He came down against [Archbishop] Molloy. He said he loves my games, loves my fight and how I'm able to score and get others involved. They speak to me every day and I'm going to take a visit as well at some point in the spring."

Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard has also scouted Davis, and assistant Duane Woodward was there Thursday.

"Coach Willard was down in Jersey when we played against Newark West Side," Davis said. "I've been speaking to Coach 40 [Woodward]. He's been telling me they're making me a priority."

St. John's is also involved for Davis, and he's also been hearing from Indiana, Stanford, Pittsburgh, Virginia, and others.

Davis attended St. John's win over Seton Hall last week at Madison Square Garden.

"They won, they played very well," he said. "They speak [to me] from time to time."



Stepinac coach Pat Massaroni said college coaches love Davis' upside.

"He currently leads the CHSAA AA in scoring at 25.5 [points] a game, and he'll most likely end up leading the CHSAA and the city in scoring as a junior, which is a pretty unbelievable feat," he said. "The [college] guys like his willingness to make plays for other players on the floor and his ability to score and drive. The bottom line, they love his ability to win and be a team player."

As for Griffin, he has battled a foot injury this season which has limited his playing time but he is back now for the postseason run. He is the son of former Seton Hall and NBA standout Adrian Griffin, now an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors. The younger Griffin is ranked No. 12 in the 2021 ESPN 25.

"When I was young, he taught me the little things, the fundamentals of the game, so he taught me how to shoot correctly and all that," Griffin, who likes to model his game after LeBron James and Collin Sexton, said in the fall of his father.

He now holds offers from the likes of Auburn, Georgetown, Rutgers, Saint Louis, Seton Hall, Wake Forest, Maryland, and Providence, with interest from Villanova, Louisville and Stanford, among others. Auburn assistant Ira Bowman played with the elder Griffin in high school.

"At the age he's at, his skillset, his mindset is definitely more mature than what his actual age puts him at," Massaroni said in the fall of Griffin, who looks like a man among boys already. "He has unbelievable upside. To be skilled as he is, not only shooting the ball at the two, but being able to back guys down, finish at the rim, defend, rebound, deflect passes, he's got high-major, pro-level upside."

More coaches figure to follow Stepinac as they bid for back-to-back titles.

"We're focusing one game at a time," Davis said. "Trying to get a city championship and go back-to-back again. That's my main focus."


Adam Zagoria is a basketball insider who runs ZAGSBLOG.com and contributes to The New York Times. Follow Adam on Twitter.

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