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Why OU's Blake Griffin could go first in draft

By Darnell Mayberry Modified: February 9, 2009 at 11:58 am •  Published: February 9, 2009
Blake Griffin will start a game like any other 19-year-old, lightheartedly dancing to Kevin Rudolph’s "Let it Rock” while seated on the bench during pre-game introductions.

But when the ball is thrown up, Griffin throws out the fun and games, and the Oklahoma forward shows why he’s regarded as the consensus No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

Against an outmatched but tough-minded Colorado team at Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday, Griffin tallied what’s become his customary stat line of 26 points and 12 rebounds in a 77-72 win.

But the box scores, no matter how mind-boggling they’ve become for Griffin, do little to reveal his true value.

Watch the 6-foot-10 Griffin for 40 minutes, and you’ll undoubtedly walk away most impressed with his athleticism. He explodes off the ground and engulfs rebounds before teammates and opponents have even left the floor. He streaks the length of the court and throws down alley-oop dunks with ease.

But what the television cameras don’t catch is Griffin’s unselfishness. How rather than beating his own chest after slamming home a 55-foot lob pass from teammate Willie Warren, he pats Juan Pattillo on the rear for the blocked shot that led to the run out. How rather than forcing shots in the post, he coolly passes out of double teams, often leading to an assist for himself or a teammate.

The fundamentals stand out, too.

Griffin employs a textbook box out on every shot.

Blake Griffin then and now
A look at Griffin’s improvement from his freshman year to his sophomore season.

Stat 2007-08 2008-09
Points 14.7 22.3
Rebounds 9.1 14.0
Assists 1.8 2.5
Blocks 0.8 1.3
Steals 1.0 1.3
Field goal % 56.8 63.3
Free throw % 58.9 58.8
Minutes 28.4 33.1
By Darnell Mayberry

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