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OU to Name New Athletics Center After Blake Griffin

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The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents approved the naming of the new athletics center at the Lloyd Noble Center on Thursday.

The facility will be named the Blake Griffin Performance Center, after the former Sooners star who donated a financial gift that is the largest by a former OU basketball player.

The project will cost about $7 million, and construction will begin next month.

The center will be built south of the current men’s and women’s practice gyms and be larger than 18,000 gross square feet.

“Being a Sooner is more than just what you do in competition,” said Griffin, who was the 2009 consensus national player of the year and the No. 1 overall pick in that year’s NBA Draft. “I am thankful to have had the opportunity to play OU basketball, which has a legacy of people that have made it great. College is such a critical time in an athlete’s playing career and it’s my honor to help give the men’s and women’s teams the resources and technology that will give them the best opportunity to succeed. I am humbled that OU has chosen to name this facility after me, and I am really excited to see this high-performance training center come to life.”

In a news release, OU said the Blake Griffin Performance Center will be the first of its kind among the nation’s collegiate basketball programs.

Some of the many features will include basketball training courts, free weights, indoor turf, outdoor turf with sand pit, spaces for plyometric and cardiovascular training, cardio and strength testing, locker rooms, an exam and recovery area, a fueling station, a multi-purpose room and overhead fresh-air doors.

“We are grateful for the generosity of Blake Griffin, who is one of the most outstanding basketball players in OU history,” said OU President David L. Boren. “It is especially heartwarming when a talented former OU student-athlete gives back to his alma mater in order to provide opportunities for students who will come in the future.”

“I’d like to express our sincere gratitude to Blake and the Griffin family for their continued support of our university and our athletics department, and for helping to further enhance the robust tradition of OU basketball,” said OU athletic director Joe Castiglione. “We’re proud that Blake, as a native Oklahoman, chose to be a Sooner, and we’re proud of his incredible accomplishments here as a student-athlete. Now he is helping make it possible for future Sooners to follow in his footsteps as they pursue excellence.

OU’s two basketball coaches also offered comments about the new facility.

OU Head Men’s Basketball Coach Lon Kruger:

“The Blake Griffin Performance Center will be an incredible resource for our program and student-athletes to further their development. We are so grateful for Blake’s vision and generosity through his contribution to this project. The facility will be one of the best in the country and we are so appreciative of the impact Blake continues to make at the University of Oklahoma.”
 
OU Head Women’s Basketball Coach Sherri Coale:
“We are grateful for Blake Griffin and his family for the mark they are leaving on the University of Oklahoma and our basketball programs. Their generosity will impact OU student-athletes for years to come and give many unparalleled opportunities for success. This training facility will be help our student-athletes reach their full potential and allow our teams to continue to compete at a championship level.”
Griffin played two seasons at Oklahoma, and was the consensus national player of the year in 2008-09.
Griffin currently plays for the Los Angeles Clippers.