Thursday, January 21, 2016

OU to Honor Blake Griffin on Senior Night

The University of Oklahoma Athletics Department announced Thursday that it will welcome back Sooner basketball great Blake Griffin during OU’s upcoming men’s home game versus Baylor on March 1. The university will honor Griffin’s No. 23 jersey at halftime of the 7 p.m. CT contest inside Lloyd Noble Center.

The contest will also mark “senior night” for six Sooners who will be playing their final home game. C.J. Cole, Isaiah Cousins, Buddy Hield, Austin Mankin, Ryan Spangler and Dinjiyl Walker will be honored during a special pre-game ceremony.

Griffin, the consensus 2008-09 national player of the year as a sophomore at Oklahoma, became the school’s first No. 1 overall NBA Draft selection when he was chosen by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2009. Now in his sixth season in L.A., Griffin is a five-time NBA All-Star and a three-time All-NBA Second Team selection.

“I am proud and truly honored to be part of a long and storied Sooner history," said Griffin. "My time at OU will always hold a special place in my heart, and I am so grateful to the fans and the university for all of their support throughout my career.”

Following his breakout sophomore campaign at OU, Griffin claimed every national-player-of-the-year award after averaging 22.7 points, 14.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game while shooting .654 from the field. He ranked first nationally that season 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.

“We’re delighted to honor and celebrate the extraordinary achievements of Sooner basketball legend Blake Griffin,” OU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Programs and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione said. “Blake, wearing special No. 23, captivated college basketball, earning him consensus-national-player-of-the year honors. His positive contributions to the Oklahoma basketball program continue and we are grateful Blake is able to carve out a night during the NBA season to take part in this special ceremony.”

Griffin's 504 rebounds were the most in an NCAA 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.

“Blake is a huge part of Sooner basketball history and we’re elated to welcome him back and honor him on a night that fits his busy schedule,” OU head coach Lon Kruger said. “He was and continues to be a great ambassador of our university and program. It will be an outstanding evening at the Lloyd Noble Center for our team and fans.”

Playing alongside his brother, Taylor, and under head coach Jeff Capel, the Oklahoma City native led the Sooners to a 30-6 record and to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight. In four NCAA Tournament games that year, Griffin averaged 28.5 points, 15.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting .780 from the field.

A limited number of reserved-seat tickets to the March 1 game are still available by clicking here or by calling the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 456-4668.

///SoonerSports PR

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