Blake Griffin, C, 6'9, OKLAHOMA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, OK:
Blake Griffin entered his senior season as the top player in Oklahoma, and he has not disappointed. Griffin has dominated the competition both in state and out. OUinsider.com recently caught up with Blake and his father/coach, Tommie Griffin, to talk about the prep All-American's season up to this point.
JH: How do you feel your season is going up to this point?
BG: "I felt like we started out a little slow at first. We came out and had two or three good games at the beginning and then we lost to Verdigris in the championship of the OBU Tournament. It was right then when I feel we stepped it up a little bit, and then we lost that following game to Bishop McGuiness. We just didn't come out ready for that game. We went to Delaware over Christmas and I think that is really going to help us. A lot of guys stepped up big and we are starting to play really well together. I am pretty happy with how well we have done so far, but I am ready to start playing again."
JH: Did you play great in the Delaware Tournament?
BG: "I felt like that was one of my best tournaments in a while. I could just go down there and just play and not worry teams trying to foul me, or double- and triple-teaming me. It was fun to just get to go up there and play and play the game. I just tried to show what I can do."
JH: Did you play against better competition in the Delaware Tournament? Is that why they manned up with you on defense instead of using a double team?
BG: "It is pretty much just because we played better competition. They didn't try to put two or three guys on me until the second half most games. It was mainly because I was out of the state of Oklahoma and I wasn't as well known out there. It was pretty much a combination of both of those."
JH: How did the team do and how did you do individually in the Delaware Tournament?
BG: "We got third place. We lost in the semi-finals to a team from New York. I think it was Bishop Laughlin. I averaged 36 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists. I also made the all-tournament team"
JH: Would you say that every time that you have had a chance to match-up with equal competition, you always faired pretty well?
BG: "I don't really know, but I do know it is a challenge for me and I love new challenges. I love to try to step up and prove people wrong or go up against somebody that I am not supposed to be better than. That drives me and motivates me to succeed."
JH: What are you averaging on the season?
BG: "My dad says I am averaging 24 points per game and 13.8 rebounds."
JH: What do you think of your teams' chances in the second half of the season?
BG: "I am really looking forward to it. I think our team as a whole stepped up and I think we have four tough games coming up. I think we can step up and I know we are all looking forward to it. We play McGuiness on the 16th, Southeast twice, both times in February, and we go to Victory Christian in February."
Oklahoma Christian Coach Tommie Griffin:
JH: Talk about that tournament in Delaware where Blake had so much success?
TG: "He stepped up quite a bit in the tournament. The first game we played they were pretty equal to our size. They were 6'8, 6'7 and 6'6, and that was pretty big. Normally you don't see that on a high school team. We were matched-up pretty well as far as height and athletic ability. It made it kind of tough for them to leave one of our kids and go and double-team Blake because of our size. I guess they felt like they could handle him, and the game proved that they couldn't.
"He did a real good job as he finished with a double-double and I don't know how many blocked shots, but he blocked quite a few shots. He made a believer out of them, and then later on in the game they tried to put a little more pressure on him. However, he was finding the open man and just made things work well for us. He sees the floor real well."
JH: What is great for him is that the tournament proved that when he does get a chance to go up against players his size, or when he gets just man coverage, that teams can't handle him wouldn't you say?
TG: "When you go to a tournament like that they don't know about you as early or as much as some of the teams around here. Naturally, they try to go one-on-one. Later on in the tournament, after they found out a little bit more, they were still going one-on-one but every once in a while they would try to double down. We just played fairly well, but Blake was the catalyst of what we were doing. He made things work, even breaking the press and running the point for a while making some really good assist plays right form the point."
JH: You had Blake running the point at 6'10?
TG: "Yeah, he was playing a little point. He is not quite 6'10, but he is close enough."
JH: How tall is Blake right now?
TG: "We have not measured him in a while. Blake feels like he has grown a little, but the last time we measured him he was a little over 6'9."
JH: How well overall is Blake playing right now?
TG: "He is playing very well. He is doing so many good things that makes it a little bit difficult to put your hand on just one thing. He is getting double-teamed and he is kicking it off and moving, and then he is able to get the ball back. He is breaking the press, penetrating the lane until somebody comes to him and then he is dishing and finding the open man. He is doing the things that coaches appreciate more than anybody else, because they know how difficult it is to do all those things, especially at his size."
JH: What is your teams' record right now?
TG: "We are 7-3 and ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in Class 2A."
Griffin off to a dominating start
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