LOS ANGELES – The University of Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin was crowned the 2009 Wooden Award winner as the college basketball player of the year at The Los Angeles Athletic Club this afternoon. The announcement was made live on ESPN 710 Radio and streamed live on CSTV.
Griffin recorded an amazing 30 double-doubles on the season for the Sooners, averaging an NCAA-leading 14.4 rebounds, the highest mark since 1997 Wooden Award winner Tim Duncan, 22.4 points and shooting 65.4% from the field. He was named to the All South Region team this year as his team advanced to the Elite Eight. A native of Oklahoma City, the 6-10 sophomore led OU to its fifth ever 30-win season, starting alongside his older brother, Taylor, and was the Big 12 Player of the Year.
Jamaal Wilkes, a 1974 UCLA All-American who won four NBA titles with the Lakers and Warriors, made the announcement. A longtime friend of The Los Angeles Athletic Club, Wilkes presented Griffin with the Wooden Award trophy whose unique design was inspired by Coach Wooden’s idea of the “total basketball player.”
Balloting by more than 1,000 members of the media and college basketball experts was conducted through the weekend of the Elite Eight. Voters selected 10 players for the Wooden All-America team from the 24 student-athletes listed on the ballot, and ranked them from 1 to 10. Voters were asked to take into account performance during the regular season and postseason, as well as a player’s character and academic performance. All players on the ballot were certified as maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA at their current school, including the most recent semester.
Griffin finished with 3,960 points, followed by North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough (3004 points) who won the Wooden Award in 2008, Pittsburgh’s DeJuan Blair (2320), North Carolina’s Ty Lawson (2034) and Davidson’s Stephen Curry (1933), also a 2008 Wooden All American. Rounding out the top 10 were Hasheem Thabeet of Connecticut (1869), Terrence Williams of Louisville (1235), Arizona State’s James Harden (902), Gerald Henderson of Duke (710), and Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody and Pittsburgh’s Sam Young tied for 10th with 692 points. All 11 players are Wooden All Americans.
In addition to the Player of the Year Award, The Los Angeles Athletic Club also presented Texas Men’s Basketball Coach Rick Barnes with the John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching honor. The Women’s Wooden Award was presented today as well, and it went to Connecticut’s Maya Moore. Oklahoma had hoped for the first-ever sweep of the Wooden Award, but Sooner senior Courtney Paris finished second in the women’s balloting.
Griffin joins a distinguished group of Wooden Award winners, including Michael Jordan (North Carolina), Ralph Sampson (Virginia), Tim Duncan (Wake Forest), Kevin Durant (Texas) and Larry Bird (Indiana State). Griffin is the first Oklahoma player to win the Wooden Award.