Big 12 Coaches Honor Griffin, Warren

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

Oct. 14, 2008

NORMAN, Okla. - University of Oklahoma men's basketball players Blake Griffin and Willie Warren were unanimous selections as Big 12 Preseason Player and Freshman of the Year, respectively, the conference office announced today.  The players were selected by the league's head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for members of their own teams.

The announcement comes on the heels of last week's Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll that listed Oklahoma in the top spot for the first time in the conference's 13-year history.

"This is a tremendous honor for both Blake and Willie, to be so highly thought of by the coaches in our league," said OU head coach Jeff Capel.  "Both young men -- as well as the rest of our guys -- have worked very hard to improve their games.  We're looking forward to getting started with practice later this week."

Griffin, a 6-10, 251-pound sophomore forward from Oklahoma City, was a first-team All-Big 12 selection last year after averaging 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game while shooting .568 from the field, all team highs.  His scoring average was the highest by an OU freshman since Tim McCalister in 1983-84 and his rebounding average was the highest by a Sooner frosh since Wayman Tisdale in 1982-83.

Big 12 Coaches Poll  |  Men's Basketball Ticket Information

Battling knee injuries most of the Big 12 season, Griffin averaged 16.9 points, 10.4 boards and 2.2 assists in his 13 full league outings (he missed two games and all but five minutes of another).  He recorded 10 double-doubles on the year, the last seven of which came against NCAA Tournament teams (averaged 20.3 points and 14.7 rebounds in those seven).

Griffin, who is OU's third Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year (Hollis Price in 2002-03 and Taj Gray in 2005-06 were the others), has already been named a preseason first-team All-American by several print and online college basketball publications.

 
  Freshman Willie Warren

Warren is a 6-4, 207-pound combo guard from Fort Worth, Texas, who led North Crowley High School to a 38-1 record last year, a Class 5A state title and a No. 3 final national ranking by Rivals.com.  He averaged 24.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.4 steals en route to being named a McDonald's All-American and the Gatorade Texas Boys' Basketball Player of the Year.

Warren is the second OU player to be named Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year, as Drew Lavender was recognized prior to the 2003-04 season.

The Preseason All-Big 12 Team was also announced today.  Joining Griffin on the five-man squad were Baylor guard Curtis Jerrells, Kansas guard Sherron Collins, Texas guard A.J. Abrams and Texas forward Damion James.  Griffin was the lone unanimous all-league pick.

Honorable mention selections were Missouri forwards DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons, Oklahoma State guards James Anderson and Byron Eaton, Texas forward/center Connor Atchley, Texas A&M guard Josh Carter and Texas A&M forward Bryan Davis.

Kansas junior guard Mario Little was named the Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year.

Oklahoma will hold its first official practice of the 2008-09 season this Friday.  The Sooners play exhibition home games Nov. 5 (Panhandle State) and Nov. 8 (Cameron) before starting the regular season Nov. 14 at home against American.

For 2008-09 ticket information, fans may call the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 456-4668 or (405) 325-2424, or may click here.

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