When Tommy-Mason Griffin is hitting his shot with consistency, he’s close to unguardable. When its falling almost every time it goes up, like last night, defenses just don’t have a chance. Before the game against Texas Tech, Mason-Griffin told Willie Warren he was going for 30. He just missed, with a then-career-high 26 points. With Crocker out, 30 points was a modest estimate when he shoots it like he did last night.
He can create space, most often with his jab step and pull up, and the elevation on his jumper makes his lack of height a non-factor on offense. So far this season, I don’t think he’s even come close to getting a jumper blocked. Defensively, he’s still not fantastic, but he’s probably shown as much improvement as any one else on the team.
On Tuesday, Warren compared him to Jameer Nelson. Definitely apt.
Who knows what’s in the 5-11 Mason-Griffin’s future? But 10 or so NBA scouts watched last night’s game, and I’m sure Warren isn’t the only one who saw the similarities. Nelson, at 6-0, developed into an All-Star in just five seasons.
As a senior at St. Joseph’s, Nelson won the Wooden and Naismith Awards scoring 20.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, three steals and shot just under 40 percent from 3-point range.
I’m not going to get carried away with what’s basically just three games where he’s looked like the best player on the floor. But in the seasons that follow, does anyone think it’s THAT outlandish that Mason-Griffin could average near the same?
- Oklahoma finally got some threes to drop in the first half, but they cooled off considerably toward the end of the game. Hitting eight of their first 11 gave them confidence everywhere else on the floor, but when they stopped dropping, Iowa State started chipping away at the lead. The Sooners finished 3-of-15 to shoot 11-of-26 from three for the game. It’ll be interesting to see how they shoot it on Saturday at Nebraska.
- Iowa State’s Craig Brackins probably lost some money by coming back. He passes the eye test better than almost any other player in college basketball, but his production has dropped almost five points and two rebounds. Marquis Gilstrap’s arrival is part of that, and Brackins’ assists are up, but games like last night show why he’ll have some growing up/toughening up to do once he gets in The League.
Ryan Wright defended him pretty well, but NBA defenders are going to be a liiiiiittle better. Even when Andrew Fitzgerald was on him, he never tried to dominate. He settled for jumpers instead of banging down low and getting himself a short jump hook and taking advantage of his touch around the goal, which might be better than any big man in college basketball.
Brackins might have been a lottery pick last season. With guys like Kentucky’s DeMarcus Cousins, Kansas’ Cole Aldrich and Georgetown’s Greg Monroe possibly in this year’s class, its going to take a lot for him to do that now.
- Mason-Griffin is playing a lot of minutes, and if he can keep this up with any consistency, it’s only going to make it more impressive. He sat one minute against Texas A&M, and played 43 minutes in an overtime win over Oklahoma State. He sat the first half against Baylor, but in the five games since, he’s played 202 minutes. That’s a lot. But the way he’s playing, the Sooners need it.
He expels a lot of energy with his jumpshot, and on nights like last night, cramps (both calves and his right hamstring) aren’t very surprising. I’m just surprised he never looks like he’s losing his legs on his shot.