Oklahoma Sooners: Blake Griffin

First he conquered the state of Oklahoma, winning four straight titles and earning McDonald's All-American honors. Then, he conquered college basketball while at the University of Oklahoma, becoming Naismith Player of the Year and leading the Sooners on an Elite Eight run. Now, three years into his NBA career, Blake Griffin is a two-time All-Star and the cornerstone of the L.A. Clippers franchise.

The NBA star returned to OU recently to spend some time around Lon Kruger's basketball program. Griffin spoke with the media during his time in Norman:

On what it's like to come back: It’s always a blast to come back and see everybody. I got the chance to watch the team play pickup and then go to a football game. It’s good to come back before the (NBA) season starts and kind of feel at home.

[+] EnlargeBlake Griffin
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty ImagesBlake Griffin average 20.7 ppg and 10.9 rpg in the 2011-12 season.
On Lon Kruger: Right out of the gate, he’s put his stamp on this program. He’s doing a great job, last year he played without a real recruiting class. This year, he’s got some great guys, watching the freshmen play pickup, it was real competitive. It honestly reminded me of how competitive it was when we were here. They have a lot of talent and a lot of new faces that are going to contribute. He’s obviously heading in the right direction.

On his conversation with the football team: I told them if everybody is doing their job individually, then collectively, it’s really tough to stop. Not to worry about it as a whole, just everybody do their part, that goes for both basketball, football, almost any sport, any job.

On why returning to OU is a priority: It helps the program. I talked to Grant Hill, who still goes back to Duke, Cole Aldrich, who still goes back to Kansas, I think when programs have the tradition of guys coming back and still being a part of it, it just helps the overall vision of the program, it helps the current players feel more of a sense of pride. It’s important for a lot of us to do that.

On returning from the knee injury that kept him out of the Olympics: I actually (recently) played pickup for the first time since my surgery.

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Every weekday morning, a member of the SoonerNation gives his take on three things happening in the Sooner sports world.

1. Oklahoma's annual fan appreciation day has been set for Saturday, Aug. 4, at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Meet the Sooners Day allows children ages 14 and younger to get autographs from the players and coaches. For more on the event, check out SoonerSports.com.

2. The Sooners announced Tuesday that quarterback Landry Jones, center Ben Habern and cornerback Demontre Hurst will join head coach Bob Stoops at Big 12 Media Day on July 23 in Dallas. It's a good sign for OU that Habern, who missed spring practice with a neck injury, will be attending because it signals he'll be ready for the season. If you were Stoops, which players would you bring to Dallas? Vote in our poll.
Every weekday morning, a member of the SoonerNation gives his take on three things happening in the Sooner sports world.

1. New Oklahoma commitment Matt Beyer (San Antonio/Reagan) told SoonerNation Tuesday night that he earned an OU offer after impressing the Sooners coaches at their satellite camp in San Antonio last month. He's the second-straight commit who has earned an offer from an OU satellite camp as receiver Austin Bennett (Manvel, Texas/Manvel) committed shortly after receiving his offer at OU's Houston camp. There were at least two other offers handed out, but just one is left on the board. Offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes) has the Sooners among his favorites, but defensive tackle Hardreck Walker (Houston/Westfield) committed to Texas A&M on Sunday.

2. The only Sooners commit invited to the opening, ESPN 150 running back Greg Bryant (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage-Boca-Delray High), had to drop out of the event after a family tragedy. But there will be several OU targets attending the event in Beaverton, Ore. Check out the full roster here.

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Video: Blake Griffin's dunk of the night

January, 31, 2012

Former Oklahoma basketball player and current L.A. Clipper Blake Griffin dunked over Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins on Monday night.


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