Taryn Griffey is more than just Ken Griffey Jr.’s daughter; she’s also one of the best prep girls basketball prospects in the nation. In fact, Taryn Griffey is such a promising prep hoopster, she was recruited by many of the nation’s best programs even after missing her entire junior season following an ACL injury in October.
Most expected Griffey to accept a scholarship from one of those highly touted programs. Instead, she’s heading to a school where the team often fails to reach a .500 record, let alone the Final Four.
On Wednesday evening, Griffey committed to play her collegiate basketball at the University of Arizona, which finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 12-18, including a dire run of 13 losses in the team’s final 14 games.
That doesn’t sound like a program well suited for a top-50 recruit, but there are other compelling reasons for Griffey to wind up in the desert. Primary among them is her brother, Trey Griffey, who is a wide receiver on the Arizona football team.
“My family was pretty shocked. I hadn’t said anything because I didn’t really know what I was thinking,” Taryn Griffey told Central Florida News 13. “My brother is here and my dad and him were high fiving.
“My brother being out there had some influence on it, but I really like the coach and I really like the atmosphere out there.”
Given the fact that Griffey Jr. and his father famously had a family thing going in Seattle, the Arizona connection between Griffey Jr's two children is a touching one that both brother and father clearly relish.
While Trey Griffey and the Wildcats coaching staff may have had some impact on the younger Griffey’s decision, Taryn insisted that there was a larger motivation behind leaving Florida’s humidity for the dry heat of Arizona: The chance to forge a legacy. Griffey cited the recent examples of Baylor superstar Brittany Griner and Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins as ideal models of what she hopes to achieve in Tuscon.
She certainly has the talent to do just that. Before sitting out her junior campaign, Griffey was named the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Class 8A player of the year, leading her Orlando (Fl.) Dr. Phillips High squad to a second straight state title.
Naturally, some of Griffey’s comfort with the Tuscon campus comes from the fact that she’s spent significant time there. Nonetheless, Griffey insists that she is ready for her senior season and the college future that will come thereafter.
Her father and brother are now apparently more excited than ever for that future, too.