Thursday, June 25, 2009

Clippers Select Oklahoma Forward Blake Griffin With Number One Pick in 2009 NBA Draft

The Los Angeles Clippers selected University of Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin with the number one overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, held this evening at the WAMU Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

A dominant power forward and a commanding physical presence, Griffin was the consensus National Player of the Year following his sophomore season. The Naismith, Wooden and AP Player of the Year, Griffin averaged 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds for the Sooners.

“Obviously, we are extremely excited with the selection of Blake,” Clippers General Manager and Head Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “The night of the lottery, when we got the lucky bounce that we had hoped for, it was jubilation. We are getting and incredible player and an incredible person with an impeccable work ethic.”

The 20-year old Oklahoma City native dominated college basketball last season, winning every major postseason player of the year award. Griffin led the nation in rebounding (504 rebounds) and double-doubles (30) and helped the Sooners advance to the Elite Eight in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

“Blake is a guy who we plan on having in L.A. for many years to come,” Dunleavy said. “We think he is going to be a great, exciting addition to our ball club.”

The 6-foot-10, 251 pound Griffin was named to the All-Big 12 Team as a freshman in 2007-08, and continued to improve last season, finishing second in the nation in field goal percentage (.659) and 11th in scoring (22.7 ppg). Griffin’s 504 rebounds last season was the highest season rebound total in college basketball since Larry Bird grabbed 505 boards in 1978-79.

“We are pleased with the player Blake is right now,” Dunleavy said. “And we are also really pleased with his upside.”



Dunleavy
CLIPPERS HEAD COACH MIKE DUNLEAVY:
On taking Blake Griffin with No. 1 overall pick...
“We are extremely excited about the selection of Blake Griffin. The night of the lottery we got the bounce we had hoped. We are getting an incredible player and an incredible person. He has an impeccable work ethic and is a guy we hope to have in Los Angeles for many years to come. This is a very exciting pick for our ball club.”

On taking Blake Griffin with No. 1 overall pick...
“Blake for us was definitely the sure thing. He is a guy who rebounds at a level that will transfer over great in the NBA. We are extremely pleased with where he is right now and his ability to constantly improve.”

On the amount of big guys on the Clippers' roster...
“We are in a great position right now. We have a lot of big guys on our roster who are very talented. Right now we are in a good position and are being patient. But if something happens to come up where we can benefit then we will obviously take a look.”

On the anxiety building up to the draft...
“It wasn’t hard because we were just waiting. We were patient because we knew where we were going with our pick. The great part was having confidence because there are a lot of guys being juggled and flip-flopped around in this draft.”

On the versatility of Blake Griffin...
“The great thing about him is his versatility. We can play him at a three, four, or five position. We can have him as a center and also move him over to power forward. We are also very interested in seeing him play as a big three in certain situations. He has the versatility and can definitely play the position.”

On the pressure from the media for having the No. 1 draft pick...
“We have already had the opportunity to have many discussions before the draft. He has a great head on his shoulders and a great attitude. Blake (Griffin) is a guy who has a great mindset and just by listening to him you can tell that he is very articulate.”



Griffin
CLIPPERS ROOKIE FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN:
On joining the Clippers...
"I'm definitely excited about the opportunity. I'm looking forward to getting in the gym and working hard and helping the team out."

On the Clippers' past...
"I’m not worried about the past at all. It's exactly what you said--the past--and nobody can change it. I'm just looking forward to the future."

On his motivation...
"I'm always going to be self-motivated. My main motivation is to live up to my expectations. I set expects for myself, and that's all I need to motivate me."

On the fans' expectations...
"I'm not sure what their expectations are. I hope they expect me to come in and contribute and try to make the team better."

On playing multiple positions...
"I think right now the four position suits me the best. I think that's where I would be most comfortable, but I would love to step out and play the three a little bit."

On adding to the Clippers' lineup...
"Hopefully I can bring something they don't have, great toughness and playing hard every game. Not that they don't have that right now, but it is something I know I can always bring."

On the past few weeks...
"It's been crazy, kind of a whirlwind, but it's been fun. It's something you only get to experience once, and I'm definitely enjoying it."

On moving to Los Angeles...
"I'm very excited about it, about the opportunity to live in L.A. I'm looking forward to being in a new place."

On watching Clippers games growing up...
"I didn't get to watch the games a whole lot. Being in Oklahoma, they didn't show a lot of Clippers games. But I think I'm familiar with their style a little bit, and I think I can fit in there."

On his draft pick assurance...
"I felt pretty solid. In the back of my mind I kept telling myself not to get too comfortable because something could happen. I tried to stay ready in case it did work out like that."

On Griffin jerseys being on sale on Clippers.com...
"I hope a few [of my jerseys] have been bought. It's exciting and I'm ready to show the fans in L.A. what I can do."

On his training...
"I definitely appreciate everything we did up in San Francisco, but I'm definitely looking forward to being with the Clippers and training with them and just getting started."

On the Lakers and Clippers split attention in L.A....
"It's fine. To be honest, I'm just looking forward to playing in the NBA. It's a dream come true. Right now my mind is not concerned with anything in that market."

On his strengths and weaknesses...
"I think my biggest strength is my rebounding, playing physical, getting inside [the key] and being able to get on the glass. The thing I need to work on the most is probably my shot, which I'm going to be working hard on. And it will continue to develop."

On wearing a purple shirt to the draft...
"It was accidental. I didn't think about it until right before the draft. Someone brought it up to me and said wearing purple would be a $5,000 fine, so I'll make sure I don't make that mistake again."

On his game plan for the next few days...
"Tonight I'm going to relax with my family and wait to see what happens with my brother. Tomorrow I will pack up and head out to L.A. Monday I will have the press conference with the Clippers, and then I'll hopefully start working out as soon as possible."

On the pressure after the Clippers' last season...
"I’m excited about it. I'm not worried about it. We have a great group of guys on the Clippers, and I look forward to playing with them and help them win games."

On his transition from college to the NBA...
"I can't tell you how different that's going to be. I just know it is going to be different, but I'm excited to play at the next level."