NORMAN — Willie Warren has delivered several memorable performances in his short career at Oklahoma. When he does, he looks every bit the preseason All-American some tabbed him to be before his sophomore year.
As a freshman, he scored over 30 points twice during nonconference play and over 25 points on a pair of other occasions in Big 12 play. Last season, without Blake Griffin for most of losses to Texas and Kansas, Warren showed potential to excel without the nation’s best player patrolling the paint. Warren’s done that in stretches this season, now that Griffin has made his permanent exit to the NBA. He’s scored at least 24 points in seven of 12 games, and in the season opener against Mount St. Mary’s, he passed out 11 assists to go with 15 points. What has kept Warren from making the transition from very good to great has been the poor performances slipped in between the fantastic ones. Warren didn’t take a 3-point shot against Arkansas, but in games against Mount St. Mary’s, Virginia Commonwealth, Centenary and Northern Colorado, Warren is a combined 0-of-20 from beyond the arc. On only one occasion, against Mount St. Mary’s, was his point total in double digits. Griffin and Warren’s games couldn’t be more different, but what made Griffin great, more than his freakish athleticism, imposing size, soft touch or rebounding intuition, was his consistency.