Oklahoma Sooners: Taylor Griffin

Long before Blake Griffin was a household name, his older brother Taylor Griffin was one of the most dominant and successful prep players in the state of Oklahoma during the past decade. He was the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2005 before starting for three seasons at the University of Oklahoma and helping spark the Sooners' Elite Eight run in 2009.

Griffin stopped by OU recently to spend some time around Lon Kruger and the Sooners basketball program. He talked with the media during his short stay in Norman:

On Lon Kruger: I think he’s been great for the program. He seems like a pretty genuine guy and a genuine interest in the program and getting some wins. Seems like everybody likes him around here. It’s good to see what he’s doing and I’m hopeful for the future.

On his memories of OU: That tournament run was amazing. I felt like it ended short but the experience and that whole season, how good we were as a team and the unique team we had. And every year playing OSU, Bedlam, being an Oklahoma guy you grow up watching those games and I got up an extra level for those games.

On returning to OU as a former player: That’s huge as far as building a legacy. You don’t want guys to come in, be gone and you never see them again. I think all the big programs, the Duke’s, the North Carolina’s, the UConn’s always have their pros come back. It’s motivation for young guys and it’s good for the pros to come back and share experiences. We definitely want to build that here are Oklahoma.

On his first few years as a professional: I was overseas for one year, in Belgium, it was an experience. There are some different rules you have to get used to. All in all, I prefer to play here.

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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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