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Eddie Jamaal Griffin (May 30, 1982 – August 17, 2007) was an Americanmarker professional basketball player. He last played for the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves, who waived him on March 13, 2007. Months later, he was killed in a car crash.

College career

After a standout career at Roman Catholic High Schoolmarker in Philadelphia in which he was named Parade Magazine's National Player of the Year, he competed in the McDonald's All American Game and led Roman to the Philadelphia Catholic League Championship in his junior year.

As a freshman, Griffin averaged 17.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.4 blocks for Seton Hall Universitymarker, and was at one point thought to be a potential top pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. He was named the nation's Freshman of the Year by The Sporting News .

In January 2001, Griffin got in a fight with teammate Ty Shine. Griffin left the school in somewhat acrimonious circumstances after his freshman year, and made himself available for the NBA Draft.

NBA career

Despite his outstanding stats at Seton Hall, questions about his attitude made him slip to the 7th pick of the 2001 NBA Draft, where he was selected by the New Jersey Nets. Griffin's draft rights were immediately traded to the Houston Rockets for Jason Collins, Brandon Armstrong, and the rights to Richard Jefferson.

In his rookie year during the 2001-02 season, Griffin played in 73 games (starting 24) while averaging 8.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.84 blocks per game (ranking 13th in the NBA in that category). He followed with another solid year in 2002-03, averaging 8.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.44 blocks per contest.

However, Griffin suffered from alcoholism, and his troubles piled up quickly over the following year. In December 2003, the Rockets released him after he missed practices and a team flight. Griffin signed with the Nets in January 2004, but missed the entire 2003-04 season when he entered an alcohol rehabilitation center.

Prior to the 2004-05 season, the Timberwolves signed Griffin to a one-year contract, and for that season he put up roughly the same numbers he had in his two previous seasons. The Timberwolves re-signed Griffin for three years (player option in the third), starting with the 2005-06 season. Griffin had a relatively significant drop off in scoring and rebounding (whilst suffering only a slight drop in minutes per game), while averaging a career-high in blocks per game (2.11).

In March 2007, Griffin was released by the Timberwolves, who had grown tired of his attitude and off-court troubles.

Death

Eddie Griffin died as a result of a car crash on August 17, 2007 at about 1:30 a.m. Houston police said in a report that Griffin ignored a railroad warning and went through a barrier before striking a moving train. The resulting fire burned Griffin's SUV and the side of a railcar carrying plastic granules. Griffin's body was badly burned and there was no initial identification. Dental records later revealed the man was Griffin. He had more than three times the legal alcohol limit in his system when he crashed, according to an autopsy report. The Harris County Medical Examiner's office said the 25-year-old Griffin died of "multiple blunt force injuries." The medical examiner's office performed tests on Griffin's bile and blood from his heart and liver and determined his blood-alcohol level was 0.26. The legal limit in Texas is 0.08. Tests found no traces of cocaine, barbiturates or any other narcotics.Former Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said he had not talked to Griffin in five or six months, but he knew that Griffin was spending the summer trying to get back in shape to play in Europe the next season. He was buried in Northwood Cemeterymarker in Philadelphia. He is survived by a 3-year-old daughter named Amaree.

References

  1. The Sporting News: Freshman of the Year
  2. ESPN: Griffin leaves Seton Hall in quandary
  3. Star Tribune: Griffin's antics should no longer be tolerated
  4. Griffin killed when car hit train last week. Updated August 22, 2007
  5. Former NBA player Eddie Griffin Fox Sports: Griffin killed in SUV collision with train
  6. Find-a-Grave memorial for Eddie Griffin
  7. Griffin's Funeral Brings Together Those Who Knew 'A Great Kid', posted August 29, 2007


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