Blake Griffin had an opportunity to leave college after just one season, but opted to stick around in Norman, Okla., for his sophomore season and it’s paid off for the NBA All-Star. Griffin said the one-and-done rule might work for guys like Kevin Durant, but his advice to young players looking to fast-track themselves to the league as quickly as possible: Don’t rush.
“I felt like staying another year was the right move for me,” Griffin told me on SiriusXM’s Inside College Basketball. “It was one of the best decisions I ever made. It enabled me to mature and get better as a basketball player. If I came out after my freshman season, it would have been a different story.”
Griffin would have been a lottery pick if he had come out after his freshman season at Oklahoma, one in which he averaged 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. However, he dominated as a sophomore, made progress on and off the court and became the No. 1 overall pick in 2009.
“Everyone’s in kids’ ears for a payday,” Griffin said. “The chance to get paid and take care of your family. … But it’s about being ready, not necessarily about taking that big payday right away, but giving it time. You might drop a few spots, but you might end up with a team that’s a better fit — and end up making more money in the long run.”
Griffin is now in his fourth NBA season, although he didn’t play in his first season after suffering a knee injury in the preseason. The 23-year-old, who is averaging 18.5 points and 8.6 boards per game, said he still follows the college game as much as possible, and believes athletes should be entitled to more than just a college scholarship.
“It’s great,” Griffin said of a scholarship. “It’s exactly what kids need, but at the same time I think they can stand to make a little more. It doesn’t mean you have to give them tons of money, but these guys generate a lot of money for the football, basketball teams or whatever sport. To play sports in college is a full-time commitment, like having a job, and I think it’s fair to give them compensation. Maybe a little money each month for food makes sense. However, at the same time, getting a scholarship paid for is a pretty good perk in itself.”
Griffin’s Clippers are 40-18 overall and in third place in the Western Conference, but he still finds time to watch college hoops this time of year — and one team has stood out to him thus far. No, it’s not the Oklahoma Sooners, but the Indiana Hoosiers.
“They have a tough, tough team,” Griffin said. “They’re probably the best team I’ve seen so far this season.”