Griffin returns from mission to Ivory Coast
Wright State men’s basketball guard Kendall Griffin traveled to the Ivory Coast last month to join with other Division I basketball players on a faith-based mission.
The Ivory Coast is two years removed from a civil war that left a scar to the nation and killed over 3,000 people. Griffin said the conditions there were rough but going there was a rewarding experience.
Athletes in Action organized the mission to the embattled nation. Though Athletes in Action is an international organization, it is headquartered in Xenia. To be able to participate, Griffin had to fundraise $4,000 to be able to join the mission.
“I asked friends, family, fans to support us,” Griffin said.
The team’s life coach was CBS basketball analyst Clark Kellogg whose son, Ohio University senior Nick Kellogg, joined the trip.
Griffin said between playing games against local professional teams in goodwill games, the team volunteered at an orphanage and conducted basketball camps for local children.
“Going to the orphanage was rough,” Griffin said.
The Athletes in Action squad played against West African national teams to help those squads prepare for the African Cup of Nations.
It was Griffin’s first time on an overseas goodwill trip. Griffin said the experience helped him prepare for the upcoming season.
“It is nice to get some game experience before the season starts, not that many guys get the opportunities to play professionals, that is what these guys were so it was nice to get into shape and play some games,” Griffin said.
Raiders head coach Billy Donlon was supportive of Griffin participating in the Athletes in Action mission.
“We are really happy that Kendall is participating on this tour to Africa,” Donlon said. ”The personal growth and world experience that Kendall will gain cannot be quantified. I can think of no better ambassador to represent Wright State University. Kendall is a special young man.”
Griffin hopes in future years, more players take advantage of the opportunity.
“I tried to get guys to go this year but I’ll certainly advertise for anyone who wants a life-changing experience,” Griffin said.
Griffin is coming off a sophomore season where he started in 33 of the Raiders’ 36 games last season. Wright State nearly made the NCAA Tournament as the Raiders lost to Valparaiso in the Horizon League Championship.
He was also the only WSU men’s basketball player named to the Horizon League Academic Honor Roll. He has earned a 3.57 grand point average as a biomedical engineering major.