Campbells Eric Griffin hoping to earn NBA opportunity

The 27-year-old took a step toward realizing his elusive goal with a strong performance for the Utah Jazz in the NBAs Salt Lake City Summer League on Wednesday

The road to the NBA has taken Eric Griffin on more detours than the construction zone on I-40 in downtown Raleigh. The 6-foot-9 forward from Campbell was the last player cut by the Miami Heat in 2013 and a D-League All-Star a year later. He was signed by the Detroit Pistons in 2015, but was waived before ever playing a game with the team. His professional basketball career was then sidetracked when he was falsely accused of murder last summer. Once cleared of the charges, Griffin played for a team in Israel while he waited for another shot at playing at the highest level back home. He’s taking the first steps toward earning that chance this week as a member of the Utah Jazz in the NBA’s Salt Lake City Summer League. Griffin scored 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting and pulled down eight rebounds to help the Jazz to a 100-94 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers in the second game of the three-game summer tournament. In contrast to the 27-year-old Griffin and his effort just to win a training camp invitation, Tony Bradley’s spot on the Utah roster is secure as a first round draft pick. The teenager from North Carolina, playing in just his second professional game, put in a solid performance with eight points, three rebounds and a blocked shot in 19 minutes. Another recent first rounder, third overall pick Jayson Tatum of Duke, was even better Wednesday. The talented wing posted a double-double for the Boston Celtics by scoring 23 points and pulling down 10 rebounds in his team’s 81-60 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. NC State’s Scott Wood saw his first action of the summer in the game, hitting two of his three 3-pointers for six points in just seven minutes of action. Across the country in the Orlando Summer League, Tatum’s former college teammate Luke Kennard continued to shine while helping the Detroit Pistons to their third win in four tournament games. The Blue Devil sharpshooter scored 14 points and had five rebounds in Detroit’s 87-82 win against the Charlotte Hornets. NC State’s Lorenzo Brown added four points and five assists to the Pistons’ cause. Cat Barber (NC State) scored nine points and had three assists for the Dallas Mavericks in their 96-75 beatdown of the Oklahoma City Thunder while Marshall Plumlee (Duke) barely missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds for the winless New York Knicks in their 84-73 loss to the Orlando Magic. Former UNC stars Marcus Paige (Oklahoma City) and J.P. Tokoto (Boston) did not see action in their teams’ games. Play in both leagues continues on Thursday. The NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League begins on Friday. Here are the cumulative stats for all state players participating in Orlando:Luke Kennard, Duke (Detroit): 4 games, 15.5 ppg, 24-56 FG, 8-20 3PT, 6-6 FT, 4.0 rpg, 2.8 apgCat Barber, NCS (Dallas): 4 G, 10.3 ppg, 14-31 FG, 3-4 3PT, 10-18 FT, 2.8 rpg, 2.3 apgMarshall Plumlee, Duke (NYK): 4 G, 8.3 ppg, 13-27 FG, 7-9 FT, 7.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.0 bpgMarcus Paige, UNC (OKC): 3 G, 8.3 ppg, 7-17 FG, 5-7 3PT, 6-8 FT, 2.3 rpg, 2.0 apgLorenzo Brown, NCS (Detroit): 4 G, 7.8 ppg, 12-26 FG, 1-3 3PT, 6-10 FT, 4.0 rpg, 2.8 apg Here are the cumulative stats for all state players participating in Salt Lake City:Jayson Tatum, Duke (Boston): 2 G, 22.0 ppg, 18-35 FG, 2-8 3PT, 6-7 FT, 8.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 3.0 spgEric Griffin, Campbell (Utah): 2 G, 9.0 ppg, 7-12 FG, 1-3 3PT, 3-3 FT, 6.0 rpgTony Bradley, UNC (Utah): 2 G, 8.0 ppg, 7-12 FG, 2-4 FT, 4.0 rpg, 1.5 bpgScott Wood, NCS (Boston): 1G, 6.0, 2-3 FG, 2-3 3PT, 1.0 apgJ.P. Tokoto, UNC (Utah): 1 G, 6.0 ppg, 2-3 FG, 2-2 FT, 4.0 rpg, 3.0 apg