A prophetic article from last July (Blake)


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Nov 8, 2008
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I was looking through some old articles and came across this one, I was amazed at how many of the things mentioned in this article came true.
Even talks about a Blake vs Tyler match up.
A very nice read even though it is old.
Blake Griffin tones up for sophomore campaign

Thursday, July 31, 2008 | Print Entry

Blake Griffin was a physical specimen as a freshman.

He also dominated his position at times, posting solid enough numbers for Oklahoma (14.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg) to the point that head coach Jeff Capel said he was told by NBA personnel that Griffin would have been a top 10 pick had the freshman entered the NBA draft.

Capel said in Orlando last weekend that he's convinced Griffin will be the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft.

Just wait until the Big 12 sees him next season. It might be hard to argue against his top-pick status if his summer training regimen equates to a superb sophomore season.

Griffin and his older brother, OU senior forward Taylor Griffin, and UCLA transfer Ryan Wright spent weeks with San Francisco trainer Frank Matrisciano.

That sounds like what most of the players do at this time of the summer. But Matrisciano apparently isn't the norm. He takes the training outside to the beaches of San Francisco to carrying sand bags, heavy balls and buckets of sand up 144 stairs, endurance-based exercises that leave many athletes quitting within minutes, according to Matrisciano.

Matrisciano's client list ranges from special ops Navy SEALs to NBA players like Gilbert Arenas, college players like Stanford's Anthony Goods and players in and out of the region like Blake and Taylor Griffin.

"It was unconventional training," Blake Griffin said Thursday by phone from Norman, Okla. "It definitely helped me elevate my game."

The training program included two sessions of two-plus hours of basketball skill work with former NBA coach Bob Hill. Then they spent two-plus hours with Matrisciano.

Matrisciano said athletes who traditionally train on treadmills and bikes come to his workout, and it hits them "with a two-by-four."

As part of the training, Blake Griffin wore a weight vest, a 60-pound bag of sand, and had to carry it -- in the sand. He also wore a weight vest and a harness and pulled Matrisciano, who was sitting down in the sand and also wearing a weight vest.

"When Blake left here, it was ridiculous," Matrisciano said. "They'll need a helmet to deal with him. He's so much stronger, so much more explosive. He was here for seven weeks, and he'll be the first pick in the draft, it's that simple.

"[The Griffin] brothers were like robots and just ate this up. They're the types of guys I love to train."

Matrisciano said he doesn't charge the college or high school players. It is their responsibility to pay for their own lodging and food, though he often cooks organic meals for them.

Blake Griffin attested to the great shape he was in after working with Matrisciano. And he's hoping to use that renewed endurance to help his expanding game.

At the Amare Stoudemire Skills Academy in mid-June in Phoenix, the sophomore sat down with Stoudemire to get advice on how to become a better player. Stoudemire told Griffin that when he first came into the league, all he wanted to do was dunk on people, but he realized he needed to expand his game on the perimeter, Griffin said.

"[Now] I'm working on taking my game out to the 3-point line, going from 12 to 30 feet," Griffin said. "I'm working on everything."

Griffin said he noticed how much North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough has expanded his shooting range, too. And, if given the chance, Griffin would love to collide with Hansbrough on the court next season. Hansbrough and Griffin are considered two of the hardest working and most physical frontcourt players returning next season.

"I'd love to play Hansbrough," Griffin said. "That's one I'd look forward to because he plays so hard. That would be a fun matchup."

To get to that kind of game, the Sooners will have to live up to expectations about being a potential Big 12 title team and a high seed in March. A lot of that hinges on Blake Griffin having a monster season, let alone getting contributions from freshman guard Willie Warren, returning guard Tony Crocker and Austin Johnson, as well as inside from his brother Taylor Griffin and Wright.

Griffin said he was 50-50 about declaring for the draft after last season ended with a second-round NCAA loss to Louisville. Part of the reason for returning was to win a Big 12 title and to get back to the NCAAs.

"We don't want to be complacent," Griffin said. "We want to play well throughout the whole year. We've got a point to prove to people."

Griffin also has new expectations to live up to as well after being tabbed as the possible top pick in 2009.

"That's why I put in the extra work this summer, to give me the drive and motivation to have a successful year as a team," Griffin said. "I'm not thinking about leaving, but if everything goes as planned for this team then it might be my last year. I'll make a decision when the season is over."

Griffin already made a commitment when he went to work out with Matrisciano that he wasn't messing around, though.