Team Member Information
Eddie Jamaal Griffin (May 30, 1982 – August 17, 2007) DECEASED. KILLED IN CAR CRASH.
Eddie Jamaal Griffin was born May 30, 1982 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He played high school basketball at Roman Catholic High School where many said he was the biggest basketball star to emerge from Philadelphia since Wilt Chamberlain. Griffin competed in the McDonald's All American Game and led Roman to the Philadelphia Catholic League Championship in his junior year. In his senior year at Roman, Eddie Griffin got into a fight with a fellow teammate in the cafeteria and was subsequently forced out of the school, though he received his diploma a month after graduation. Griffin then went on to play collegiate ball at Seton Hall University.
Eddie Griffin was selected out of Seton Hall University with the seventh pick of the 2001 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets, Griffin's draft rights were immediately traded to the Houston Rockets for Jason Collins, Brandon Armstrong and the rights to Richard Jefferson. In his rookie year of 2001-02, Griffin played in 73 games and averaged 8.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.84 blocks per game. He became the first rookie in NBA history and stands as just one of six players all-time to average more than one blocked shot and one 3-pointer made per game in a season. He ranked first on the Rockets in blocked shots and was the first rookie to lead Houston in blocks since Hakeem Olajuwon did so during the 1984-85 season. Griffin followed with another solid year in 2002-03, when he averaged 8.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.44 blocks per contest.
Eddie Griffin’s explosive personality and eventual alcoholism caught up to him in 2003. The Rockets released Griffin after he missed practices and a team flight. Griffin then signed with the Nets in January 2004, but missed the entire 2003-04 season when he entered an alcohol rehabilitation center. Troubles continued to follow Griffin when he plead guilty to an assault charge against his ex-girlfriend. He was accused of hitting her and shooting at her, he spent 11 days in jail, was sentenced to 18 months' probation, fined $2,000 and ordered to take anger management classes.
Prior to the 2004-05 season, the Minnesota Timberwolves signed Griffin to a one-year contract, and for that season he put up roughly the same numbers he had in his two previous seasons. The Timberwolves re-signed Griffin for three years, starting with the 2005-06 season. In the 2005-06 season Griffin had a relatively significant drop off in scoring and rebounding, while averaging a career-high 2.11 blocks per game.
On March 30, 2006 Eddie Griffin was involved in a bizarre car crash. Witnesses and friends state that he was watching a "porn movie on DVD in his vehicle...” After the accident, Griffin entered a nearby convenience store. The store's security camera recorded video of Griffin repeatedly saying he was drunk, that he didn't have a driver's license, and of him pleading with the man whose SUV he crashed into, offering to buy him a new car in exchange for not calling the police. Police eventually did arrive, however, but allegedly did not require Griffin to submit to a breathalyzer test or field sobriety test. An investigation is underway to determine if the officers violated standard protocol in light of Griffin's celebrity status.
Eddie Griffin could be a solid player on the Minnesota Timberwolves team if he could eliminate the personal distractions and maintain an even temper on the court. His ability to block better than most is a definite skill needed on the Timberwolves team.
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