Blake Griffin thought about going pro a year ago. If he had, would Griffin have worn Thunder blue this past season? Makes sense. Griffin was projected as a lottery pick but clearly was rated behind Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley and O.J. Mayo, the plums of the 2008 draft. But the then-Sonics picked fourth, and many believe Sam Presti would have grabbed Griffin, and not for marketing purposes. Young Sam seems to have a clue about these sort of things. Think how that would have changed the dynamics of the Thunder’s first season in OKC and the upcoming draft. No Russell Westbrook, which means Earl Watson likely would have run the show, and in this draft the Boomers would be searching for Ricky Rubio or someone to be their point guard of the future instead of praying for the lottery ball that has Griffin’s name on it. There would have been about the same number of dunks at the Ford Center. Just more of them would have been delivered by the home squad. Griffin would be an even better prospect going into NBA Year 2 than he is going into NBA Year 1. I know, everyone likes to say the extra year in college helped him. When are we going to stop buying such nonsense? Let me get this straight. A guy who plays 35 games, more than half of them against the likes of Gardner-Webb and Texas Tech, practicing against outmanned teammates, while also writing English papers and taking tests on the Holy Roman Empire, is going to improve more than if he plays 82 games, all of them against the world’s best basketball players, while practicing against teammates at least as big, if not as athletic, while spending no time in a classroom? Griffin is a much better player today than he was a year ago at this time, but not because he spent an extra year on campus. It’s because he’s spent an extra year on Planet Earth. And if Griffin had spent that year in the NBA, he would be even more of a hoops monster. A few players actually are better off delaying NBA arrival, for reasons of physical and social maturity. Neither comes close to applying to Griffin, who a year ago had an NBA body and who always has had good home training. There are very good reasons for elite players to stay in college. Rarely do those reasons have anything to do with basketball. If Griffin had turned pro last April, he would be even more ready to take the NBA by storm. And his Oklahoma City address likely would be assured.
Cheers & Jeers: NCAA Golf tourney’s new format
CHEERS→To the new format for the NCAA Golf Championships. The tournament will consist of 54 holes of stroke play, which will determine an individual champion and eight teams that advance to match play for the team title. The Ryder Cup has shown us that team match play is among the most exciting competitions in golf. →To OSU’s spring game format, which consisted of a real game between two teams, which was great for fans. So few things left in college football are done for the crowd in the stands. Nice to see something come their way.
JEERS→To OSU’s 5-9 start in Big 12 baseball. The Cowboys, a game behind Missouri for eighth place, are flirting with not even qualifying for the conference tournament. →To the seven-word essay contest to find a fan to represent the Thunder at the draft lottery. Seven words? That’s no way to find the best fan. Would Sam Presti draft a player based on seven seconds of scouting? How do you apply? Twitter?