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Posted on: March 6, 2009 2:14 pm

Dear Gary (on Blake Griffin's future plans)

Here's Friday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Congratulations to Blake Griffin (for winning the straw poll). I heard he is staying. Is that true?

-- Killac


Stay where?

At best, Griffin will stay at Oklahoma for another six or eight weeks. After that, he'll be gone, and if somebody really told you otherwise you should stop listening to them. Forever. Because they don't know what they're talking about.

Posted on: March 5, 2009 11:12 pm

Straw poll favors Griffin (and by a wide margin)

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette's Michael Rothstein conducted his final straw poll for National Player of the Year.

Predictably, the winner was Oklahoma's  Blake Griffin.

But would you believe it was unanimous?

Thirty-five writers from around the country -- including yours truly -- were asked to submit a ballot featuring three players, and all 35 ballots had Griffin at the top. Davidson's Stephen Curry finished second; Pitt's DeJuan Blair was third. That's exactly how my ballot looked, for those wondering. To see the full results, just click this link .

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 25, 2009 11:14 pm

Griffin still waiting to be cleared

Blake Griffin met with doctors again Wednesday and even shot a little, but the Oklahoma star still has not been cleared to return to contact drills or live action, OU coach Jeff Capel told late Wednesday night.

"Right now we still have no clue (if he'll play Saturday against Texas Tech)," Capel said by phone. "It takes time, and we're not going to do anything to rush it. We want him to be OK before he plays again or before we even put him in a position to practice with us again."

Griffin suffered a concussion in the first half of Saturday's loss at Texas, then missed Monday's loss at Kansas that dropped the Sooners' record to 25-3 overall, 11-2 in the Big 12. The 6-foot-10 sophomore is the overwhelming favorite to be the National Player of the Year and top pick in June's NBA Draft, but for now he's still sidelined with lingering effects from a freak mishap.

"He's getting better," Capel said. "But it's a slow process, and we don't want to speed it up."

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 23, 2009 6:57 pm

The Big 12 stacks up pretty well, actually

Regardless of what happens in tonight's game between Kansas and Oklahoma, it's pretty clear that Bill Self and Jeff Capel -- plus Missouri's Mike Anderson -- deserve some serious accolades for the work they're doing this season. It's remarkable, really, that the Jayhawks (22-5), Sooners (25-2) and Tigers (23-4) are among the nation's leaders in victories. And to those who would claim all three are merely benefitting from playing in a league not called the ACC, I would offer the following information as a counter argument:

The Big 12 has two teams in the top 10 of the Coaches poll.

Just like the ACC.

The Big 12 has seven wins against non-league top 25 teams.

Just like the ACC.

The Big 12 has three teams in the top 15 of the RPI rankings.

Just like the ACC.

The Big 12 has six teams in the top 40 of the RPI rankings.

But the ACC only has five.

So I ask: Is the Big 12 really not at (or at least near) the ACC's level?

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 15, 2009 11:18 am
Edited on: February 15, 2009 11:26 am

Is Thabeet making a run at Griffin?

As this season rolls along, you just watch, the conversation about who should be the National Player of the Year -- not to mention the top pick in June's NBA Draft -- is going to intensify primarily because people are starting to recognize the impact Hasheem Thabeet has on both ends of the court. That 25-point, 20-rebound, nine-block performance Saturday against Seton Hall certainly helped. But the biggest thing aiding the Connecticut junior is how opposing Big East coaches are singing his praises, one after another.

The other day, it was Jim Boeheim.

This weekend, it was Bobby Gonzalez.

"I don't know ... a more dominant guy than him in the country," Gonzalez said after his Pirates lost to UConn. "He, to me, is the No. 1 player in America. ... If I was an NBA franchise I would take him No. 1 in the draft."

In other words, watch out Blake Griffin.

Hasheem Thabeet is coming for you!

The 7-foot-3 center is now averaging 13.5 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.4 blocks for the No. 1 team in the country while Griffin is averaging 22.8 points, 14.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks for the No. 2 team.

My suggestion: Let them decide it in the NCAA tournament.

Preferably, in the national title game.

Against each other.

Posted on: February 12, 2009 3:11 pm

Griffin leading straw poll for Player of the Year

Blake Griffin is running away with the National Player of the Year award.

That's what the results of a straw poll conducted by Michael Rothstein show. The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette writer reached out to 55 media members from across the country (myself included), and 51 of them placed Griffin at the top of their ballot (myself included).

The top three in order were ...

1. Blake Griffin (Oklahoma)

2. Stephen Curry (Davidson)

3. Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina)

Click this link to see the full results.

Posted on: January 29, 2009 6:54 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2009 6:57 pm

Griffin can dunk on you or answer your email

Apparently dunking and rebounding and leading a team to a possible Final Four isn't enough for Blake Griffin. Now he also wants to answer questions from readers -- just like I answer questions from readers -- via Blake's Mailbag at, meaning the sophomore star is so good at his normal job that he's trying to prove he's pretty good at mine, too.

What a show-off.

(No wonder opposing teams are always taking cheap shots .)

Seriously, it's a neat deal.

The first edition was posted Thursday with fans quizzing Griffin about everything from his brother, his car and the chances that he'll return to school. The All-American forward even finds time to poke fun at Sarah Palin, which is always fun. So I encourage you to check it out at this link and submit appropriate questions, like ...

Dear Blake: Why are you trying to dominate internet journalism with a mailbag? You don't see Gary Parrish trying to dunk on Damion James, do you?

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: January 29, 2009 3:19 pm

Dear Gary (on the argument for Wake to be No. 1)

Here's Thursday's Dear Gary ...

Dear Gary: Oklahoma No. 1? Maybe. UConn No. 1? Maybe. But the true No. 1 stands tall. Neither Oklahoma nor UConn could beat both UNC AND Duke, which is why Wake Forest should be No. 1. Do you follow the crowds, Gary, or do you THINK? There's no other choice but Wake Forest.

-- AW

I hate people like this.

Honestly, I do.

Because rather than make a reasonable argument for Wake Forest -- and there is a reasonable argument to be made -- AW starts with a ludicrous statement, that neither UConn nor Oklahoma could beat both UNC and Duke. Really? Why not? If Boston College can beat North Carolina (which it did) and Michigan can beat Duke (which it did), then how are we to conclude that UConn and/or Oklahoma couldn't beat North Carolina and Duke, particularly if UConn and/or Oklahoma had home games against those two just like Wake Forest did?

See, it's a stupid premise.

But like I said, there is an argument to be made in Wake's favor.

The place to start is to highlight that the Demon Deacons have three wins over opponents with Top 10 RPIs (UNC, Duke and Clemson) while Connecticut and Oklahoma have zero. So while the Huskies and Sooners have more quality victories (UConn is 9-1 against the Top 100, OU is 14-1 against the Top 100 and Wake Forest is 7-1 against the Top 100), neither can match Wake Forest's top three victories. That's the argument, and I could accept that argument. But to suggest that UConn and Oklahoma couldn't beat North Carolina and Duke is silly, because if UConn and Oklahoma had home games against North Carolina and Duke then I assure you that UConn and Oklahoma would be favored to win those games.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or