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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
He makes himself a big target on the low block by flashing hard with arms raised. He skillfully directs traffic from the post with a clinched fist and a pointed thumb that hints his IQ for the game extends well past his years.

Griffin can also guard the perimeter and play the passing lanes for easy steals. On one possession Saturday, his perimeter defense led to a one-man fastbreak that ended with a jaw-dropping windmill dunk.

But Griffin is far from a finished product. Much of his scoring comes from within eight feet of the basket, mostly on dunks and an occasional running hook. Griffin’s jump shot needs a lot of work if he’ll ever expand his game and get the most out of his physical gifts. And any trip to the foul line at this point is an adventure.

"He’s one of the hardest working kids I’ve been around as far as working on his game and trying to improve and get better,” said Sooner coach Jeff Capel. "He’s very driven.”

Said Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik: "From what I can tell, I think his head and heart are in the right place. I noticed he said thank you to a ball boy after he was wiping the floor.

"If his head and heart remain true, and the Lord continues to bless him with great health, he has a great future in this game.”

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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