Iowa State landed the first major piece of its 2018 recruiting class when Chicago forward Zion Griffin announced his commitment last Tuesday. The 6-foot-6, 190-pounder has been one of the fastest rising players in the 2018 class since the spring.

After playing primarily as a back to the basket player for Hinsdale South High School, Griffin got the opportunity to prove his chops on the wing during the AAU circuit. The performances he was able to put together helped him quickly rise from unknown to the No. 58 prospect in the country, according to 247Composite.

Here is a quick scouting report of Griffin’s game and what he’ll bring to the table for Iowa State.



Griffin is an above average athlete who plays above the rim on both ends of the court. He has a quick first step that allows him to get to the basket in order to finish strong with his left.

He also has above average strength for someone entering his senior season, which allows him to regularly finish through contact. Obviously, Griffin will have to continue to get stronger as he makes the jump to the collegiate level, but he already has a very solid base built.

Touch with the left

Griffin’s ability to finish with touch around the rim is one of the most impressive parts of his game on film. He is left-handed so it is not overly surprising the majority of his moves go towards that side.

He is able to finish with that left hand in a number of creative ways regardless of contact or defenders looking to redirect his shot. As mentioned before, he is also impressively strong around the rim when finishing with his left.

Smooth stroke

For a guy who has played predominantly with his back to the basket most of his high school career, Griffin has a really nice stroke from mid-range and behind the arc. He finishes high and there is little drop in the ball on the catch going into his shooting motion.

He could stand to get a little bit quicker with his release, but that will come with age as he adjusts to the speed of the game at the next level.

Vision out of double

There are several instances when watching Griffin’s film in which you will see him make some really nice passes out of double teams. He has a knack for finding open shooters on the perimeter when he draws defenders as a driver and is smooth with one handed passes when going to his left.

It will be interesting to see how Griffin can grow as a distributor, especially as he starts to draw more attention for his scoring ability.


Not much right hand

You are not going to see Griffin use that right hand very much in his highlight tapes. Honestly, I’m not sure I saw him finish near the hoop with his right hand once in the handful of videos I watched.

This is not something overly surprising considering his age. If he was as good at finishing around the rim with his right hand as he is his left, Griffin would probably be a very top-tier collegiate prospect, but where he is at right now gives him some major upside moving to the next level.

He does not drive to his right often, which, again, is not overly surprising at this point in his development. Honestly, pointing this out as a weakness is me picking nits in looking for a major point of his game to improve moving forward, because there is no doubt Iowa State has got a good one in Zion Griffin.

Jared Stansbury


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.