VYPE Magazine Feature: Meet Mr. Griggs
BEFORE DE'AARON FOX STARRED FOR THE SACRAMENTO KINGS OR AT KENTUCKY, THE FUTURE NBA STAR DID HIS WORK AT CYPRESS LAKES HIGH SCHOOL.
Stories about his games were legendary. Almost to the point where you thought people were just exaggerating. Packed gyms. Local superstars coming to see him play. It was a must-get ticket to watch Fox play.
Now, Houston has Bryce Griggs.
"I looked up to De'Aaron Fox," Griggs said. "We were cool and still cool. He's a H-Town legend. It's good to be compared to a legend like that.
"He put on for the city and I'm following his footsteps and trying to be better."
In some of Griggs' bigger playoff games, the gym has been packed. Cameras rise every time he touches the ball. At times you can look over and see his mentor Houston Rockets star James Harden sitting in a chair at the end of the court. Next to him at times could be Texans' quarterback Deshaun Watson and Texans' legend Andre Johnson.
They all want to see Griggs.
"I do get starstruck," Griggs said. "I'm cool with them and people don't know that. It's a blessing."
The 17-year-old has been a star since he first stepped onto the court for Fort Bend Hightower as a freshman. He scored 38 in his first-ever high school game.
That was special because, Griggs put on that performance for his father Robert Lee Griggs, who died due to colon cancer late in Griggs' eighth grade year.
"He didn't get to see me play in high school and that was always his goal because I have two older brothers who he got to see play," Griggs said. "I just came out with a chip on my shoulder since my freshman year."
Since his father's passing, Griggs' family has been the thing that has kept him grounded and guided in the right direction.
"If you come to my games, you're going to see my family behind me," Griggs said. "That's the support that you need. We're very big on that."
People outside of the family have become big influences on his life as well, such as Harden.
Griggs at one point did play for Harden's AAU team before moving on to Houston Hoops. But through it all, Harden has been a mentor to the young star.
"He just knows my story," Griggs said. "He tries to help and tell me what's right and wrong. He's a pro. He's a superstar. He just gives me little details that I need to follow. Why not follow them? He's done it."
With his rise as a national prospect, the attention has come with it. Griggs at just 17 is already verified on Instagram and has over 91,000 followers.
In early October, SLAM made a video of Griggs working out with the caption "H-Town, I'm back." It got more than 22,000 views.
"It just came fast," Griggs said about the attention. "When you get in front of the media and they just love kids that have skill and that are made for the camera. If I go play at the Campbell Center tomorrow, Overtime, BallisLife and SLAM will text me. It's just like, wow. When you're a kid, you look up to those."
There is no question Griggs is ruthless on the court. He will take over games, put his team on his back and show no mercy to the opponent.
That style, Griggs says, gives some people who don't know him a misconception about him.
"People just think I'm a mean kid," Griggs said. "When I'm on the court I have no friends, but off the court I'm very humble, very childish and laid back. I'm a people-person. I'm a down-to-earth person."
Griggs leans on his faith.
Growing up in the church, Griggs said God is a big part of his life. Through his upbringing, he has been taught to give back. He does with his time, and even shoes and backpacks he may receive.
In the next year, Griggs will have to make the ultimate decision – where he will play after FB Hightower?
Will it be college, the G-League, overseas or straight into the NBA Draft?
"I'm just going to do what's best for me and the family," Griggs said. "If it's the G-League, going straight out of high school, go to UH, go to Texas -- it's what I'm going to do. I'm going to do what's best for me in a pro offense with a pro coach, who has been through it."