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Samford basketball player found dead

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Jim Griffin, a forward on Samford University’s men’s basketball team, was found dead Tuesday morning (Sept. 8) in his room in a residential village at the Birmingham, Ala., campus.

Griffin, 23, was a senior sociology major from Chicago.

A Sept. 9 news release from the university stated: “Although details have not been released by the Jefferson County coroner’s office, Griffin apparently died in his sleep. … [H]e had participated in a pick-up game and some weight training on Monday night before returning to his residence hall.”

Samford basketball coach Jimmy Tillette told The Birmingham News that Griffin may have died from an undectable heart condition and had not evidenced any previous medical problems.

Griffin played in all of the Bulldogs’ games during the 2008-09 and 2007-08 seasons. He was a back-up center during the 2006-07 season and a redshirt player his first year at Samford. He played prep basketball at suburban Marist High School in Chicago.

Last season, the 6-7 Griffin finished the season ranked third on the team in assists (56) and received one of the team’s “Practice Hard Awards” for work ethic and hustle in practice throughout the season. He averaged 15.8 minutes, 2.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game coming off the bench.

“The Samford community is profoundly saddened by the death of Jim Griffin,” Samford President Andrew Westmoreland was quoted by the university news release as saying. “He was a popular student on campus in addition to being a member of the men’s basketball team. It never is easy when any life is lost, but it is more difficult to lose one of such great promise.”

“This is a tremendous loss for our university and our team,” Tillette said. “Our objective now is to help Jim’s family and his teammates and friends deal with the situation.”

Westmoreland announced Griffin’s death to students assembled for a regularly scheduled convocation service and then in a campus-wide e-mail to students and employees. He said the university’s counseling center and university ministries staffs were available to assist students with grief counseling. Athletics department staff members met throughout the day with student-athletes.

A memorial service for Griffin was scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 10) in Samford’s Reid Chapel. A funeral Mass will be Monday at St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church in Chicago.

Samford is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist Convention.
Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston.

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