Throughout the summer, GoBonnies.com will feature interviews with members of the St. Bonaventure men's basketball team and their preparation for the 2017-18 season during off-season workouts. Our first Summer Session features rising junior forward LaDarien Griffin.
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – St. Bonaventure University rising junior LaDarien Griffin took great strides during his sophomore season, becoming a regular contributor for head coach Mark Schmidt and the Bonnies men's basketball team.
Griffin shot better than 52 percent from the floor and averaged 12.3 minutes per game a season ago. After logging minutes in 29 games including a start last year, the 6'6'' native of Jacksonville, Fla. has been putting in the work during the summer months to prepare for an even bigger role in 2017-18. As Summer Session I came to a close last week, he sat down to talk about his work during the off-season and his goals for next year.
What was the biggest lesson you learned last season?
Consistency. Always being hard working, always being in the gym and paying attention. Never let up at any point and always remain focused.
How have you most improved since arriving at St. Bonaventure?
Learning what hard work really is. Just being around a group of guys who love the game and really care about winning. To be with this program you have to be ready to go and I finally understand everything I have to do to be a successful basketball player.
You played a much bigger role last year than you did as a freshman. What is the key to taking the next step?
Finding my niche and what my guys need me to do. I don't really care about numbers, I just care about winning. I need to know what I need to do; knock down open shots, rebound, whatever it takes to win.
Do you see an opportunity opening up for yourself in the lineup with the graduation of Denzel Gregg?
Definitely. I'm working hard on everything he was doing. I was able to really learn from him and from Dion (Wright) as well when he was here. I've really been learning the offense and getting to my spots.
What is the biggest thing you're working on this summer?
Getting stronger and faster. Being able to expand my range. I have to be a more efficient player.
What classes are you taking this summer?
Spanish. I'm doing alright. I'm from Florida, so you have to learn a bit of Spanish along the way.
How do you spend some of the downtime during the summer with your teammates?
A lot of 2K games. A lot of NBA 2K, watching the NBA Finals. Just being in the gym, playing 2-on-2, 3-on-3, 4-on-4 or 5-on-5.
Are you happy with the Warriors winning?
I'm happy KD won. I'm a LeBron fan, but I was rooting for KD. He gets a lot of slack for going to Golden State, but he does what everyone else does in high school and college. My thing about the super teams is we go to play with better players in high school and top guys in college. Everybody is doing it. I understand wanting to play with the best teammates.
What are some personal goals you have for next season?
I want to win most improved. I want to win the A-10 championship. I'm not focused so much on individual awards, but more so just on winning. That's really where our team focus is.
What is your favorite memory you of traveling with the Bonnies the past two seasons?
Freshman year, winning at Dayton. That was probably the most special game. You could feel how intense it was and how much was on the line. Watching great players make great plays, you just want to be a part of that.
What does being a part of the Bonnies program mean to you?
It means a lot. It means taking pride in being a hard worker, sacrificing individual success in order to win. It is kind of like the personality of the area, people here are all hardworking and care about each other. That's what Coach preaches to us – we are going to work hard and win with each other.
Getting to know … LaDarien Griffin
Favorite athlete: LeBron James
Favorite food: Fish
Actor that would play you in a movie: Will Smith. We look alike.
Hobbies: Video games
Favorite movie: Scarface
Favorite music artist: That's tough. Gotta go J-Cole and Drake. Those are the top two.
Dream job: Still trying to figure it out
Pre-game ritual: Handshakes
If you could play another sport it would be: Football
If you could trade places with one person for a day who would it be: There's a lot of people living a great life. I'll go with LeBron, playing in the Finals.
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