NORMAN, Okla. (AP) – Blake Griffin stayed at the new interpretation center on campus where he once starred and knew that this project was beyond him.
The former Oklahoma star was available Saturday for the dedication of the Griffin Family Performance Center. Griffin, the AP Player of the Year in 2009, made the biggest donation from a Sooner basketball player. The school would not disclose the amount.
"I'm a little overwhelmed at the moment," said Detroit forward Pistons. "I just can not find the words."
The Board of Regents of the school agreed to name the $ 7 million facility for Griffin, but wanted to include his family. Griffin said his brother, former Sooner Taylor Griffin, helped with the planning.
"There was an early rendering that was the Blake Griffin Performance Center, and I hated it," he said. "It made me feel weird just because all my life, my brother and I have been supported by my parents, they are the ones who push us to practice, working two jobs to make sure we have the things we need: shoes, uniforms, all that. All this, again, has been a group effort. "
Griffin and the Pistons will train at the facility before the October 3 preseason game against Oklahoma City Thunder. It includes basketball courts, free weights and areas for stretching, cardiovascular training and strength tests. There are changing rooms, an examination and recovery area and a service station. The addition of approximately 16,000 square feet has been in use for the last two months.
"We have tried to give them all the possible tools," said Griffin. "So, if a child really wants to earn it and they want to work hard enough, they have everything they need." Here are things that I've never used and never had in my entire career in the NBA. That's very special. "
One of Griffin's favorite things is the alumni outfit, former Sooners Buddy Hield and Trae Young, current NBA players who were in town for the weekend. of alumni, they have lockers with their names on the premises to make them feel at home when they return during the offseason.
Sports director Joe Castiglione said that it has already affected recruitment.
"Just look at a face when you enter," he said. "The eyes are wide as saucers, the mouth is agape, they resonate, they can not believe it, they are amazed, incredible. Immediately they begin to imagine what they could do with this type of training center. Those are the key points you get, and obviously that's what we're looking for. "
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.