Willie Warren Announces He'll Return to OU

Thursday, April 16th 2009, 4:57 pm
By: News 9


OKLAHOMA CITY -- The University of Oklahoma guard Willie Warren announced Thursday he will return for his sophomore season with the Sooners.

The 6' 4'' guard confirmed via text message Thursday to the Oklahoman.

NEWS 9 has learned the Warren, in conversations with family and friends the last several days, had been wavering back and forth with his decision. Sports Director Dean Blevins will have more details as they become available.

Warren was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in the 2008-2009 season, averaging 14.6 points per game. He had been projected as a lottery pick by most NBA mockdraft.

Warrant's return serves as a welcome boost to a Sooner squad already dealing with the early NBA departure of Blake Griffin as well as the losses of seniors Taylor Griffin, Austin Johnson and Omar Leary.

Read more about Blake Griffin's decision to leave OU and enter the NBA draft.

Dean Blevins Discusses Warren's Decision:

I have several thoughts on the matter. First, if the story is true, OU fans should breathe a sigh of relief. Not many players projected to go in the NBA lottery return to college.

Second, with the departure of Blake Griffin, the Sooners will still be very good with Warren back. A pair of All-Americans coming in helps but without Warren their learning curve would take much longer.

Third, Jeff Capel suggested that Blake Griffin return to school a year ago, and the idea turned out well for both parties. It was obvious Griffin would be the No. 1 draft pick so there was no need for a suggestion this season. I asked Capel if he agreed with most coaches who recommend to their players that if they are going to be a lottery pick that the business side of the equation means they should leave. But Capel told me that he might believe in that theory most of the time, but that in "some" cases-i e Warren-other factors are more important. It was clear he would recommend to Warren that he stay in large part that the NBA is a man's league, and that there are so many things outside of making a roster that Willie needed to consider. Apparently Willie did.

Fourth, one day a news organization or individual is going to get burned when some anonymous knucklehead pretends to be a Willie Warren and sends a text to them saying one thing when the other happens.

Which brings up the fifth issue. I had information on this story from an inside source. I did not go with what I was originally told because we did not have a second source (the original story was that he was going and that his mom was coming to town this weekend to visit with the coach and that he would not hire an agent.) Then three days later, the same source came back with completely different information. He gave a verbatim account of what his friend told him (this time the story was that he was definitely staying).

Finally, Willie was up and down this past season and is not ready to go head to head with ace 25-30 year-old men in the NBA. One year removed from playing pimple-faced 17 year-olds, it is in his basketball-world's  best interest to stay in school at least another year. It'll be his team and he will have the green light to do what he did not always get to do this season: shoot, shoot and shoot.

The only caveat to my thinking that he is making the right decision to return is this: if a kid comes from an impoverished situation and big money will solve economic ills, then I say go. You can always come back to school-although most don't-and get a degree. But I don't believe Willie was in this situation and that the savvy, well-spoken, potential superstar is making the right decision.

Key word? Potential.