Sunday, January 27, 2008

My Somewhat Unhealthy Blake Griffin Man Crush

Be it an open court dunk or a fight for a loose ball on the blocks, Blake Griffin does it.
Credit: CNN
Earlier this week, I made the decision to exclude the Oklahoma Sooners from the Big Dance entirely upon learning that freshman forward Blake Griffin would be out with a knee sprain for approximately four weeks. Prior to this knowledge, the Sooners were rated among my top 25 teams. That’s because since watching Griffin’s grit and determination against Gonzaga and then in a hostile semi-away game versus West Virginia in Charleston, yours truly has developed a basketball man crush. After working 12 hours two Mondays ago, I took solace in that I would be watching Blake Griffin take on Kansas’s big man trio of Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson and Sasha Kaun. Sadly, Blake Griffin sprained his knee early in the first half in a game which Oklahoma had zero margin for error. When the news of four weeks on the shelf hit the wire, the expectation of returning to the NCAA Tournament went to the wayside.

Of course, as we now know, four weeks happened to be 11 days, as Griffin unexpectedly returned Saturday to play at Baylor with his customary contribution of 17 points and 15 rebounds ... but only in 22 minutes. The result was a 77-71 triumph.

A calming influence and a leader, Griffin reminds me of Sean May at the collegiate level with more athletic ability. Evidence to that fact was Griffin’s return to the hardwood last night. Entering with 14 minutes remaining in the first half, Griffin took down a board, delivered a dish and scored a bucket that buoy the Sooners on a 10-0 run that placed the team in a position of relative comfort for the remainder of the game.

Many are pondering whether Griffin will stay in Norman with his brother, Taylor, or bolt for greener pastures of the Association. At present, Griffin may garner lottery considerations, but may be best served to stay in school for at least one more year due to an impressive crop of one-year wonders who might very well be selected before him.

Looking ahead, the Sooners (14-5, 2-2) have a tricky next five games in which they hope to win four of five.

Mon, Jan 28 – vs. Oklahoma State
Sat, Feb 2 -- @ Texas A&M
Wed, Feb 6 – vs. Texas
Sat, Feb 9 -- @ Colorado
Wed, Feb 13 – Iowa State

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