Former Oklahoma Sooners great Blake Griffin doesn't come back to Norman or the Lloyd Noble Center very often, but he will return for the Sooners' home game against Baylor on March 1. The university will honor his No. 23 jersey at halftime, the university announced Thursday.
Griffin's jersey will be raised to the rafters alongside the jerseys of Wayman Tisdale, Alvin Adams, Mookie Blaylock and Stacey King. Griffin was the program's first No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers after he was named the consensus 2008-09 national player of the year as a sophomore.
“I am proud and truly honored to be part of a long and storied Sooner history," Griffin said in a release by the university. "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.”
He is a five-time All-Star and is now playing in his sixth year with the Clippers.
“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 in the release. “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.”
The game against Baylor will also be the final home game for Oklahoma's six seniors, who will be honored pre-game.
In his final season at Oklahoma, Griffin averaged 22.7 points, 14.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists. He was first in the nation in rebounds (504, the most since 1979) and double-doubles (30, the second-most in NCAA history). Griffin helped lead Oklahoma to the Elite Eight.
“We’re delighted to honor and celebrate the extraordinary achievements of Sooner basketball legend Blake Griffin,” Oklahoma Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione said in the release. “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.”