Boys All-Metro: NHS’s Griffin named player of the yearPublished 12:01am Sunday, March 24, 2013
NATCHEZ — Natchez High School junior point guard DeArius Griffin spent the entire summer doing intense workouts with boys head coach Mike Martin.
The objective was to drastically improve Griffin as a player to both help lead the Bulldogs and hopefully earn a scholarship to a Division I school.
On the court, the offseason of hard work showed — Griffin led the team with 17 points per game and did well manning the point. Because of his strong season, Griffin has been named The Natchez Democrat’s boys All-Metro player of the year.
“(The workouts) helped me become quicker, stronger and a better player,” Griffin said. “I had a better mindset. I wouldn’t have been the player I was if I hadn’t have done them.”
Martin said Griffin was first or second in every statistical category the team kept up with, and he also led MHSAA Region 6-6A in scoring, earning him an All-Region first team selection.
“He got the respect of other teams,” Martin said. “He was always being double-teamed and trapped. Sometimes he read it well, and other times he rushed it, and that’s what he has to work on.”
In addition to the summer workouts, Griffin credited running track and cross country with helping build up his wind, where he didn’t get tired as easily when the games wore on. The next step for Griffin will hopefully be getting his teammates to buy in more heading into next season.
“I’m just trying to get them organized and on the same page,” Griffin said. “I want them to be in the same condition and have a mindset like mine — to win.”
Martin also said the next step for Griffin is to help lead the younger players, but Griffin said he already got positive feedback this past season.
“It was very easy (to get them to buy in), because when they see me work hard, they want to do the same,” Griffin said.
Martin said he was proud of his junior’s accomplishments so far, and he’s hopeful Griffin can do bigger things his senior season. Martin also said he hopes the team develops an inside game to help take pressure off Griffin, which would allow him to excel even more.
“I’m even more proud of where he’s headed now,” Martin said. “He knows today and tomorrow are more important than yesterday.”
Griffin hasn’t forgotten about his dream of playing for the Kentucky Wildcats — or Division I in general — and Martin said Griffin’s love for basketball is what helps set him apart as a player.
“DeArius’ love for the game is on a much higher level than a lot of the younger players,” Martin said.
Griffin said a state championship is on his mind as he looks toward his senior season. He also said he expects to be back in the gym early in the morning this summer.
“I expect it to be even harder,” Griffin said.
Martin also said he’s excited to work with Griffin one-on-one again this summer.
“He’s going to live in the gym,” Martin said. “He already knows that. Every off day, he’s working with the shooting machine.”
Griffin is the son of Christine Griffin.