Sooner is first No. 1 NBA Draft pick in history of Big 12 Conference.
June 25, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. - Blake Griffin saw a longtime dream realized when NBA Commissioner David Stern stepped to the podium Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
"With the first pick in the 2009 NBA Draft," said Stern, "the Los Angeles Clippers select Blake Griffin of the University of Oklahoma."
With that, Griffin unleashed an ear-to-ear smile, stood and embraced those at his table -- his parents Gail and Tommy, his brother Taylor and OU Head Coach Jeff Capel.
Griffin, the consensus national player of the year as a sophomore last season, became the first No. 1 overall NBA Draft selection in OU history and the first from a current Big 12 Conference school since Danny Manning was also taken by the Clippers in 1988.
When asked about the first thought that crossed his mind when he heard Stern's announcement, Griffin said, "Just relief, man. It's great to know exactly where I'm going and have it set in stone."
Griffin was also asked about the Clippers' long history of losing.
"I'm not worried about what's happened in the past," he said. "I'm only looking forwad to the future. We're not going think about what's happened in seasons past. We're just excited about the opportunity and going to make the best out of whatever situation we're put in."
Griffin claimed every national player of the year award last season after averaging 22.7 points, 14.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting .654 from the field. He ranked first nationally in rebounding and double-doubles (his 30 double-doubles were the second most in NCAA history), second in field goal percentage and 11th in scoring.
Griffin's 504 rebounds were the most in a season since Larry Bird grabbed 505 in 1978-79 and his rebounding average was the highest since Tim Duncan pulled down 14.7 per game in 1996-97.
The 6-10, 250-pounder from Oklahoma City led the Sooners to a 30-6 record and to the Elite Eight. In four NCAA Tournament games, Griffin averaged 28.5 points, 15.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting .780 from the field.
The highest previous NBA Draft selection in OU history was Wayman Tisdale, who was picked No. 2 overall by the Indiana Pacers in 1985.
This marks the fourth straight year a Big 12 Conference player has been selected in the top two of the NBA Draft.