MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sophomore forward Blake Griffin played his last game for Oklahoma on Sunday, or so we all assume. Griffin had 23 points and 16 rebounds, but the Sooners dropped a 72-60 decision to likely 2009 national champion North Carolina in the South Regional finals.
Griffin was brilliant, his teammates were not, and that’s not nearly good enough to beat a talented group of Tar Heels. During his opening remarks at the post-game news conference, Sooners coach Jeff Capel asked media to refrain from asking Griffin questions about him potentially declaring for the NBA Draft. "We’ll get to that at the appropriate time," Capel said. "He’s hurting right now. I’m sure that’s the furthest thing from his mind. So, thanks." Capel obviously has earned much respect from the media, because they heeded his request. After Griffin left the podium and returned to OU’s tiny locker room in the FedExForum, he was surrounded by roughly 25 reporters and that’s when the subject was broached. Griffin said he preferred not to discuss the matter, but opened up a bit toward the end. "I’ll sit down with coach Capel in a week or two," Griffin said. "I’ll know sometime before the deadline." The deadline for an underclassman to declare for the NBA Draft is April 26 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. The deadline to withdraw from the draft is June 15 at 5 p.m. Eastern. This year’s NBA Draft is June 25. Any chance Griffin will return to the Sooners? "There’s always a chance," Griffin said. A reporter from Memphis said local fans would like him to play for the Grizzlies. "I like Memphis. It’s cool," Griffin said. "I’ve played here before (in a summer tournament), not in the FedExForum, in a tournament. It’s a cool city." It was a tearful post-game interview session for Capel, Griffin and older brother Taylor Griffin, who were seated side-by-side. When Taylor was asked what it was like to play alongside his little brother for two seasons at OU, he was too emotional to speak. Ten minutes later, away from the bright lights and microphones, a more composed Taylor tried again. "It’s been incredible being able to play with somebody you’re that close to," Taylor said of Blake.