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Sebastian Griffin | Leadership in high performing youth basketball teams

June 30, 2019

PICTURED: Sebastian has accomplished a rare feat making SA Metro team in U16s as a bottom and top aged player and likewise in U18s.  He captained the U16 team as a topager and likewise in U18s.  As a bottomager he was Vice Captain in both age groups too.


If you are a young athlete and want to provide value to your teams that really contribute to success then your leadership needs to be developed.  Sebastian Griffin is a great example of an oustanding leader, consistently building successful teams where ever he plays, at any level.  


Seeing Sebastian, the value he brings to his teams and how he goes about it, and benchmarking this with other individuals, without Seb's traits, in very high level teams I’ve been involved with that underachieved I’ve come to realise how important toughness and leadership is in teams and how much value that brings.


You won’t see Sebastian jumping out the gym, you won’t see him hitting fade away 3s from the deep corner.  He is not the most athletic guy in the world but the complete package he brings makes him a very high level prospect. 


The lengthy point guard is tough, loves scoring over defenders, with contact, but also able to get deep in the paint and make a bullet kick out pass for a 3 pt shot.  Sebastian is a guy that coaches want at point guard, he drives excellence from his team and has an innate understanding of play calls needed to capitalise on defensive gaps and weaknesses.  Skillset wise he plays both sides of the ball, leading the country in steals at the U18 National Championships in 2018, rebounds the ball well, shoots well.  We also know well at Sturt and South Australia circles that he is someone that consistently elevates his game on the big stages be it big club national tournaments or National Championships. 


 VIDEO: Sebastian's performance at the 2019 U18 National Championships was outstanding to any observer, statistically but it is also his intangibles that bring a complete package.


Sebastian drives excellence in his teams, is consistently a leader of teams he is involved with and his teams consistently tend to overachieve be it at club level, where he has played in the best boy’s club team in the history of South Australian Basketball and also helping his SA Metro state team's recent National Championships success.  We wanted to interview Sebastian on leadership so that other budding leaders can learn and develop his skillset. 


Reading this article is also a great chance for college coaches to learn about Sebastian.  Sebastian being a definite prospect for Division 1 college coaches who want to build winning cultures and programs.  Sebastian is playing AAU in LA (West Coast Elite) and Vegas (BigFoot Hoops) in this coming July period as we reported in this article previously;  👉 The 2019 Sturt Sabre's historic United States exposure tour; About the athletes, their successful track record and style of play (also Australian style of play). 


Sebastian's leadership capabilities was again obvious when he recently captained the South Australian U18 Metro team to a historic Silver medal at the 2019 National Championships; Head Coach of the team Jarrod Clarke provides some great insights;


"I believe I speak for all of the staff from the 2019 SA Metro U18 Men when I say we would consider Seb Griffin, the captain of our team this year, to be a one-in-a-generation leader. He has the unique ability to garner the respect and admiration of all of the relevant stakeholders – team staff (coaches, managers), team-mates , extended squad members and the parents of our players. For someone of his age to have such a grasp of leadership is rare.


He leads both by example and vocally – a “no maintenance” player whose sole goal in our group was to put our team in the best position to win a gold medal. It not only included our week away at Nationals, but the entire 6-month preparation period – from trials, to squad trainings, practise games through to our week away and subsequent return home from Nationals.


His impact on our team goes well beyond on-court numbers (15.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.6 apg) or watching our video package of games. It was an all embracing attitude both on- and off-court with one goal in mind – to maximise our chance to win a gold medal.


Some points about him:

  • the unanimous captain selection (selected by 10 team members and 5 coaches).

  • Embraced the “WE before ME” philosophy e.g. in some games in our pool, which players can use to increase their averages, was happy to play a lot less to give others increased opportunities.

  • Understands that it is about more than just the “two hours” on-court per day. Includes embracing a “be your best” attitude towards:

    • “fueling up” (correct food, hydration, sleep, rest, stretching, body recovery)