NORMAN — Tommy Mason-Griffin has left the building, and I don’t blame him.
The Sooner point guard played basketball like he was working the salt mines. He played without joy.
Spending eight or nine months in Oklahoma seemed to be boot camp for TMG. Virtually punching a time clock.
Life’s short. No reason to spend any of it being miserable.
Not that the future’s going to brighten up anytime soon. If Mason-Griffin thinks he’s headed for the NBA, he hasn’t paid attention to the caliber of the league’s point guards. TMG couldn’t defend Iowa State’s Diante Garrett; how’s he going to guard Deron Williams? Keeping up with Fred Gulley is not like keeping up with Rajon Rondo.
But that’s college basketball as we enter the second decade of the 21st century. The sport has become a halfway house for its best players, and while some embrace it and enjoy it, others treat it like a Roman slave ship.
Compare the demeanor of Mason-Griffin with his female counterpart at OU. Danielle Robinson plays point guard like she’s just been turned loose in an empty amusement park. Running here, running there, trying to experience it all, hoping closing time never comes.
"Just being able to represent the university and the state, it’s huge,” said Robinson, who is from the distinctly non-Oklahoma city of San Jose, Calif. "You’re doing something you love to do. Something you can’t take for granted.”
Meanwhile, Mason-Griffin played like he had one eye on the basket and one eye on the calendar. I thought maybe it was just his personality, but now we know why. He couldn’t wait to get the heck out of Dodge.