There was a point last season, as injuries and inconsistency kept him tethered to the bench, when Iowa State’s Zion Griffin found himself asking a very frightening question.
“At first, my confidence was down. I was thinking like, ‘Am I good enough?’” the 6-foot-6 Chicago native said of his freshman season. “Thoughts like that started to come.”
Minutes did not come for Griffin in his rookie campaign, but his belief in himself did return.
“It was very frustrating but I had to realize coach was going to put the people in who he could trust,” Griffin said. “I don’t feel like with the production, that I was in and out last year, I don’t feel I really gave him that trust.”
A fresh season brings new opportunity for Griffin, who with his size is a candidate to play power forward in a small-ball lineup ISU coach Steve Prohm is contemplating this offseason.
“I feel like the four is where he’ll stick me at,” Griffin said. “That’s kind of where I was talking about getting my ball-handling a little better because you can put me at the three, the four. In practice, I’ve been doing stuff with the bigs. (Prohm) is trying to get me that all-around, know everything so he can know for sure where he wants to put me when the season comes.
Griffin appeared in just 17 games and never played more than six minutes in a Big 12 contest. He had opportunities to crack the lineup early in the season as the Cyclones battled injuries and suspensions, but an MCL injury over the summer had Griffin behind the learning curve from the beginning. Griffin, who also had a foot injury over the winter, is now healthy.
With a year under his belt, Griffin believes he’s poised to be able to make a contribution for a Cyclones team that has reinvented their roster after losing six players from last year’s Big 12 tournament champions.
“I would say I redshirted,” he said, “without the official redshirt.”