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Basketball

“I was already at home.” – Zion Griffin

Hinsdale South’s Zion Griffin announces his commitment to Iowa State University, September 12, 2017. Allen Cunningham / for Chicago Sun-Times

Zion Griffin felt like he was already home.

The four-star recruit from Darien, Ill. said his official visit to Ames did not feel like an official visit. It felt like just another weekend for the 6-foot-6, 208-pound small forward rated as the No. 58 player in the 2018 recruiting class by 247 Composite.

That’s why the No. 15 small forward in the class brought a recruiting process that also included Kansas, Pittsburgh, Illinois and a host of other schools to an end Monday night when he announced his commitment to Steve Prohm and Iowa State.

“Coach Prohm has been on me since the beginning,” Griffin told Cyclone Fanatic in a phone interview Monday night. “Even way before they offered he was calling me just talking to me then I think they offered within the first two to three days after Coach Prohm coming to watch me play one weekend. Ever since then he’s been on top of everything. Calling to make sure my mom, my brother and my sister are okay. Basically, making me feel like I’m a huge priority. Even when I went down on my visit it felt like I was already at home.”

Griffin was one of the fastest rising players in the 2018 class during the summer live periods. On July 15, he added offers from Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Toledo, Loyola Chicago and Illinois State. July 17 brought scholarships from Southern Illinois, Drake and Wisconsin-Green Bay before Northern Illinois extended one a day later.

The next weekend Iowa State and Missouri State joined the fold. Illinois came next on July 30, days before Griffin took an unofficial visit to Ames on August 2. Pittsburgh joined the discussion on August 9 followed two days later by Kansas.

In 28 days, Griffin added 13 Division I scholarship offers. He ended the recruiting process with 18. At the end of the day, it was the Cyclones who stood above the rest.

“I love the campus. I love the people,” Griffin said. “The support system that they have, the fans that are there. The campus was good and a nice academic spot. I talked to the AD and I talked to some alumni there. Just they were telling me how much they wanted me. It’s the whole staff. Everybody there was telling me that they needed me. Just letting me know that they’re serious.”

Even the fans in the crowd at Iowa State’s loss to Iowa on the gridiron, which Griffin was able to catch the first half of live at Jack Trice Stadium, were telling the Hinsdale South product the program needed him.

Griffin is the first official member of Iowa State’s 2018 recruiting class, which will have at least three spots left to fill before the Cyclones’ 2018-19 roster is complete. Griffin joins current true freshmen Lindell Wigginton and Terrence Lewis as highly recruited building blocks for Prohm and his staff.

“I actually knew Lindell, because I watched a lot of Oak Hill highlights on YouTube,” Griffin said. “I saw him and I was like, ‘That guy’s good.’ I went to my, I don’t know if it was my unofficial or when I actually got there, but I saw him and got the chance to meet him. Him talking to me is just a blessing. I talked to Terrence and Lindell while I was down there and they were the coolest guys ever.”

Griffin had official visits scheduled for later this month to Kansas and Pittsburgh, but informed Cyclone Fanatic those visits will not happen. He has already told the coaches at each of the schools recruiting him of his decision.

At the end of a whirlwind two months, Zion Griffin is a Cyclone.

“It gets higher from here. Even through my senior season, I have to look forward and I have to kick my game up a notch,” Griffin said. “Then coming in on a collegiate level especially in the Big 12, I have to step it up a whole other notch. Then my goal is play professionally so if that goal is achieved, I’ll have to kick it up. It just keeps going. Can’t stop now.”

Jared Stansbury

administrator

Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.