NORMAN, Oklahoma – Former Oklahoma star and current Los Angeles Clipper Blake Griffin returned to Oklahoma earlier this weekend and took a few moments to talk to News9's Dean Blevins.
Griffin was in town to attend the OU Legends game Saturday held to welcome new basketball coach Lon Kruger to Norman. Griffin publicly supported former coach Jeff Capel, but said he also approves of the school hiring Kruger.
"I'm definitely behind Coach Kruger and the program," Griffin said. "I want to do everything I can to help out and be a part of this. This is my school, this is what I know and I'm always happy to be a part of it."
Griffin left OU after his sophomore season, but sustained a season-ending knee injury before he could begin his NBA career. His rookie season was delayed for a year, but once he saw the court he did not disappoint.
He rattled off highlight-reel dunks with regularity and averaged 22.5 points per game last season on his way to winning Rookie of the Year.
"My expectation was to come in and, really, just be out there and be ready to play all year," Griffin said. "After having to sit out the whole year, it made me that much more hungry. Just to be out there was awesome."
The NBA currently is in the midst of a lockout, and players are not allowed to have any contact with their coaches or other members of their organization. Griffin has spent most of his summer in California making sure he remains in shape in case the lockout ends.
"I'm just working out right now and trying to stay ready," he said. "I'm in LA most of the time, working out out there, just kind of waiting for [the lockout] to get done."
Griffin said he does not know if the lockout will end in time for the NBA to play its season, but that he hopes it does.
"Hopefully they'll get things worked out to where we start playing, but it's just kind of a waiting game," he said. "I know as much as everybody else knows."
Griffin's rise to stardom has come at the same time that the team from his hometown, the Oklahoma City Thunder, has become one of the premier teams in the Western Conference.
The Thunder narrowly missed the opportunity to draft him out of college, and Griffin did not dismiss the idea of joining the team at a later date. Griffin currently has two more years on his contract before he would become a restricted free agent in 2014.
"We'll see what happens," Griffin said. "Right now my commitment is to the Clippers, and we're working on making that team better. I know the Thunder are doing a great job here and everybody's excited about them."