April 21: Blake Griffin Day in OKC
April 21, 2009
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — "Blake Griffin Day" started out with an honor for the top NBA prospect from the Oklahoma City Council.
The rest of Griffin's plans for the day named in his honor were a bit more mundane.
"I've got to go home and pack, actually, and get ready to move out," Griffin said.
The Associated Press' player of the year and the only unanimous All-American, Griffin was recognized Tuesday for his playing career at Oklahoma. Griffin announced earlier this month that he would leave the Sooners after his sophomore year to enter the NBA draft, where he has a chance to be the No. 1 overall pick.
Mayor Mick Cornett told Griffin he was the first player ever from Oklahoma City to win the Naismith Award given annually to college basketball's top player and that he and Sam Bradford make the city the first ever to produce the Naismith winner and the Heisman Trophy winner within a year.
"I'm going to guess that's not likely to happen anytime soon," Cornett said. "Oklahoma City is on a roll."
Griffin said the day, which also featured Oklahoma's team banquet, was actually his last in the state for a while. He has signed with Excel Sports Management and planned to leave Wednesday for California, where he was to spend a month training for the NBA draft in June.
Griffin said he would be in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas but "kind of all over, though. I won't just be there."
Griffin averaged 22.7 points and led the nation with 14.4 rebounds per game and 30 double-doubles this season as Oklahoma advanced to the regional finals of the NCAA tournament before losing to eventual national champion North Carolina. He also set the Big 12 and school season records for rebounds (504), rebounding average, field goal percentage (65.4 percent) and double-doubles.
Griffin, who was accompanied by his parents, thanked the council for the honor and said: "I'll remember this day as long as I live."
"Oklahoma City is obviously where I call home, so to have this honor, it means a lot," Griffin said afterward.