POTW: Letrelle Griffin

Published 11:02 pm Monday, December 15, 2008

He dropped in 10 points to help his Hornets to a two-point win over Marengo High Friday night. And then he turned around 24 hours later to lead all scorers with 16 points against Linden.

But it was not freshman phenom Letrelle Griffin’s offensive output that landed him Player of the Week recognition. It wasn’t the high percentage he shot from the free throw line against the Patriots while sinking 13 charity shots. It wasn’t even the way he helped facilitate the offense from the point guard spot.

What earned Griffin’s spot in the spotlight over the weekend was his defense. The Hornets entered Saturday’s action knowing that the only way they would have a shot at beating a much longer, more athletic Linden team would be to limit Kendarius Goodwill.

That sounded easy enough in theory. Then there was the reality that Goodwill is potentially the most dynamic, versatile scorer in Marengo County, if not the Black Belt. His ability is compounded by the fact that his size creates significant issues for JEHS’ small lineup.

Enter Griffin. First-year head coach Rodney Dixon showed little hesitation in placing Griffin on Goodwill, despite the fact that his freshman gives up approximately eight inches of height to Linden’s premiere player.

And, just as Dixon expected, Griffin delivered. He delivered in a big way. His tenacity and general peskiness at the defensive end kept the ball out of Goodwill’s hands for much of the night before the Patriot star fouled out with only six points next to his name in the stat book.

The talk at the Hornets’ practice Monday had little to do with the fact that the team is 2-0 in the area. It didn’t give much regard to the 16 points Griffin scored Saturday or even the 26 Zackary Fluker dropped on Marengo Friday night.

In fact, the hot topic of conversation seemed to be about Griffin and his game-altering defensive commitment. Aside from Player of the Week honors, that commitment earned Griffin the respect of his teammates and, undoubtedly, the attention of a motivated Goodwill when the teams meet again in late January.