Junior guard John McGriff, a 6-foot point guard from Prince George County, Maryland, is entering his second season on the Binghamton men’s basketball team. A 2021 transfer from St. John’s University, McGriff played in 25 games last season with 23 starts, and averaged 11 points and 2.6 assists per game, both stats being the second-highest on the Bearcats. He also shot 40 percent from the floor and 68 percent from the free-throw line through the year. In America East (AE) play last season, McGriff bumped up his scoring to 12.1 points per game.

“This year, I want to focus on getting better each and every day, and to develop winning habits and to instill the winning habits from my teammates,” McGriff said.

BU made it to the semifinals in the AE tournament this past season, before falling to the eventual champions UVM. The team is looking forward to a fresh start. McGriff felt like, last year, he was in a different role than the rest of the team — being fresh off a transfer from St. John’s and stepping into bigger shoes at Binghamton.

“Based on certain games and certain situations, I learned so much on the court … that I can use to help me grow,” McGriff said.

McGriff scored his season-high 21 points in a road win at UMass Lowell on Feb. 19, shooting an efficient 9-14 from the field. The Bearcat had 16 double-digit scoring games, with six in a row to close out the regular season. He will look to continue this type of offensive output and play an active role for BU season this year.

On the court, McGriff sees himself as an energetic and vocal leader, always looking to play a part in the game. Last season, the transfer was adapting to Binghamton head coach Levell Sanders’ playbook and filling in the role where he was needed. McGriff credits his leadership skills to his father, saying that he helped him become the player and person he is now.

“In life, I look up [to] my father for his leadership and the impact that he had played in my life,” McGriff said. “[He] helped me develop into the young man I am today.”

In high school, McGriff accumulated an impressive resume. At Bishop McNamara High School, McGriff led the team in his senior year to a 21-11 record and a quarterfinal berth in Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship. This earned him a No. 33 point guard ranking in the nation, No. 2 in state of Maryland for 2019, per 247Sports. Additionally, McGriff gained three-star recruit status, per ESPN and 247Sports, to aid his journey into college basketball.

On the court, McGriff credits NBA star Chris Paul in how he has developed into a basketball player. His style of play is reflective of how McGriff sees himself on the court and how he hopes to see his role for the Bearcats adapt this season. Paul, an efficient mid-range shooter and exceptional passer, inspired McGriff’s style of play on the hardwood.

“I study how he gets to his spots and sets up his teammates,” McGriff said. “[I like] how effective he is on the court, and I love how he gives everyone the ball.”

McGriff works hard every day in practice to be his best self. The junior takes the difficult shots and runs the tough plays. The Bearcats, who are looking to take the next step this season, will look to McGriff to make the big plays when they matter in order to secure more wins in tightly contested AE conference.

“Watching film from last year and from offseason practice has definitely made us a better basketball team,” McGriff said. “My [basketball] IQ has gotten better and better. For me to be the top-notch basketball player, it’s all about consistency. All about getting shots and making the game simpler.”