Griggs' all-around game propelled Ramstein
March 6, 2016
It can be easy to overlook the contributions Ramstein guard D’Angelo Griggs makes in a basketball game, at least until they have added up to a win. Or to a championship.
Griggs, the indispensable sophomore catalyst of the talent-rich Royals, deployed every one of his wide array of gifts in leading Ramstein to the 2015-16 DODEA-Europe Division I boys basketball championship. As a result, he is the Stars and Stripes boys basketball Athlete of the Year.
“The kid is a winner,” Ramstein coach Andrew O’Connor said.
Griggs produces his share of highlight-worthy flash, but what defines the sophomore’s game more than anything is his constant, undeniable impact. For every highlight, there are countless smart, subtle plays leading routinely to Royals success.
When Griggs pokes loose a ball in the backcourt and finishes with a breakaway, it’s the result of the many times he’d harassed that opponent out of its offense and into mistakes. When he slashes to the basket for a layup, it’s the result of the many times he’d cut hard to the hoop to contort a defense and make space for his teammates. When he knocks down a jumper, it’s the result of the many times he’d passed up his own decent look for a teammate’s wide-open opportunity.
“There were times this season when it would have been easy for him to try to take over or go one-on-one,” O’Connor said. “He made his teammates better and helped create an unselfish culture that we rode the entire season.”
That all-around excellence reached its zenith in the championship game, a 54-46 defeat of archrival Kaiserslautern. Griggs totaled a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double, shot 50 percent from the field overall and from behind the three-point line, and added four steals and three blocked shots.
That’s exactly the kind of line Griggs looks for in the postgame stat report.
“I like having all-around stats,” Griggs said. “I don’t want to just have a really high number in one category. I’d rather have a nice number in them all.”
There was one number that loomed over Ramstein all season: two, as in a second straight European championship. The Royals lost the majority of the roster responsible for the program’s 2014-15 title; Griggs, who observed that title run from the junior varsity squad, knew he’d need to offer immediate reinforcement if Ramstein was to repeat. Griggs admits that he wasn’t thrilled with his JV spot last year, but now acknowledges that it was “a good idea” to prepare him for a key role on the varsity. Once he stepped into that role, that was quickly proven true.
“I was expecting to make an impact,” Griggs said. “I’ve been waiting for this.”
O’Connor saw Griggs’ “extremely high basketball IQ” in action on the JV squad and knew it would translate well, and quickly, to varsity success.
“If you tell D’Angelo something, he has it the first time, and then goes out and does it,” O’Connor said.
Apparently, that includes even Division I European championships.