By Scott Wright Modified: April 9, 2008 at 6:38 pm •  Published: April 9, 2008
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The NBA can wait.

Oklahoma freshman Blake Griffin announced Wednesday that he will return to OU for his sophomore season rather than make himself eligible for the NBA Draft.

"It's about me being ready," Griffin said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

Griffin was a first-team All-Big 12 selection and averaged 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. He helped get the Sooners back to the NCAA Tournament after last year's team failed to do so, ending a 25-year postseason streak.

Griffin, who was the Sooners' leading scorer and rebounder, had been discussed as a possible top-10 pick in the NBA Draft. But he has also discussed his desire to play one more season with his older brother, Taylor, who will be a senior at OU next year.

Griffin is turning down some big money to stay at OU. Based on the NBA's slotted pay scale for draft picks, Griffin would be looking at $2 million guaranteed for three years by being a top-10 pick, where several mock-NBA Drafts have him projected. Being selected anywhere in the first round guarantees $900,000 a year for three years.

OU coach Jeff Capel said that Griffin turned down a chance to be a Top 10 pick, but "He made an informed d3ecision on what he wants to do. It may not be popular with some people, but it's his decision."

"Either way, I'd be happy," Capel said. "There is no one who is a bigger Blake Griffin fan than me."

However, he could boost his draft stock by improving his offensive game, especially away from the basket. That, along with his size and athletic ability, would push him toward the top of the draft next season.



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