Griffin enjoying McDonald's game festivities

Oklahoma signee Blake Griffin talks about his experience at the McDonald's All-American game, his future in Norman and efforts to help recruit point guard Jai Lucas. Also included is a first-hand scouting report on how Griffin has fared during first two days of practice against the nation's best.

Louisville — In the world of high school basketball, perhaps the ultimate validation of one's career is an invitation to the McDonald's All-American game. Future Sooner Blake Griffin is one of the 24 players selected to this year's game in Louisville, KY and so far the 6-9 forward is enjoying the experience.

Griffin also appreciates the purpose behind the game, to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House.

"This is great. To come out and play with all these guys and raise money for something like the Ronald McDonald House is something special," said Griffin. "They really treat you well."

Like every other player in attendance, Griffin is looking to maximize his experience. However, after suffering through some knee troubles last summer he also wants to prove to everybody just what type of player he really is.

"I want to get the experience, but prove myself also," Griffin told Sooners Illustrated. "I can play a little better now because my knees are under me and I just want to prove that I'm not falling off right now. I want people to see what I can really do."

After a bit of a slow start on Sunday, Griffin and his West teammates really picked things up during a spirited Monday morning practice session. It wasn't quite game speed, but there was no shortage of physical play, especially between Griffin and the other big men.

"Our coach really wanted us to pick it up from yesterday," said Griffin. "I liked matching up with Mike Beasley and Kevin Love. It's been fun talking to him (Beasley) and Cole Aldrich and we've joked a little about next year."

Not surprisingly, Griffin has also spent a considerable amount of time watching Oklahoma play. He's excited about the direction of the program under Jeff Capel and thought the 2006-07 season was a success considering some of the obstacles that the new coach and his players had to overcome.

"I think they did really well, considering what they had," said Griffin of the Sooners. "They lost three recruits and I think they had problems at the beginning but they picked up before the end and then kind of fell off. But, it was a pretty good season."

Given his ability and reputation, hopes are high that Griffin will be able to step right in and contribute. It's something that he thinks he's capable of and he knows where he can provide the most help.

"I think I can come in and contribute inside, that's where they need the most help right now," said Griffin. "I know we're all just looking to come in and improve every season. I need to keep working on my shot. I could also work on my footwork and my ball handling."

Other than having fun, Griffin does have one more goal for his time at the McDonald's All-American game. He wants to work on getting undecided West teammate Jai Lucas to join him in Norman next season.

"I've talked to him a little bit, I talked to him all year just keeping in touch really," said Griffin of Lucas. "I'm just telling him that we can do some good things at OU with Coach Capel and that all we need is a point guard right now. He's hard to read, but we'll see, he's got a good poker face."

Scouting Report: Eric Bossi on Blake Griffin's McDonald's practice...
"Wow, I really enjoy watching this young man play ball. After not being quite a 100 percent the last part of last summer, it's nice to see him fully healthy. I'd say that he's a very legitimate 6-9 and that size along with his powerful body and ability to explode in the paint makes him so dangerous.

"He really got after it against Mike Beasley today and even got the better of him on a lot of trips. What makes Blake so tough is that he isn't just a tough guy around the basket, he's got some skill away from the hoop. On top of all of that, he's an engaging and personable kid to talk to and somebody that Oklahoma fans are going to love having associated with their program.

"There's no way you can watch this guy do anything — whether it be actually playing or messing around in warmups — and not think to yourself that the dude is a friggin beast. When he first broke onto the national scene it was as a 6-7 combo forward who liked to shoot from the perimeter but that's not his game now.

"At this point, he's got to be pushing 6-9 and there are few, if any, on the high school level who can match his physicality and will. I'm really looking forward to getting a more in depth look at both his game and what makes him tick this week."

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