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					  2A   Monday April 6, 2009



Royalty                                   coach telling us that Sam had com-
                                          mitted. So then he calls us later he
                                                                                     “Obviously you’re kind of ap-
                                                                                  prehensive about it, you’re anx-
Continues from page 1A                    goes, ‘Hey I just wanted to tell you    ious about it, you’re hoping every-
                                          guys that I did commit’ and we          thing ends up okay for him,” Kent
    Growing up, Bradford and              said, ‘Oh, we already know.’”           Bradford said. “It ended up great
Griffin knew each other through              For Griffin, the decision was a      for him. He just hopped in there
their parents. Griffin’s parents          bit more complicated.                   and just played and played well.”
owned a trophy company that                  Griffin won four state champi-          Griffin’s first collegiate game
Bradford’s father used. Bradford’s        onships at Oklahoma Christian           came on Nov. 8, 2007, against San
f a t h e r o w n e d a g y m w h e re    School, going 106-6 in the process.     Francisco. He went 7-9 from the
Blake and Taylor Griffin played           His senior year, he averaged 26.8       field and scored 18 points while
basketball.                               points, 15.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists      grabbing 13 rebounds in the game.
    Bradford and Griffin occasion-        and 2.9 blocks per game. He was         Capel said he knew from the start
ally played one another in Little         a McDonald’s All-American, the          how good Griffin could be.
League, and they were teammates           top player in the state and ranked         “I knew he’d work, and that’s
in the summer of 2005, when               as high as No. 13 in the country by     the thing that impressed me most
they played on the same Amateur
Athletic Union basketball team,           “Playing football or basketball here is a lot bigger than just Blake
Athletes First.                           Griffin, it’s a lot bigger than just Sam Bradford. It’s about this
    Bradford’s mother, Martha
Bradford, said it was evident early
                                          whole program and the legacy and everything that’s come before
on what kind of talent Griffin had.       it and all the people involved. I think those guys both understand
    “Blake is just like he was grow-      that and that’s why they realize there’s no room for them to be do-
ing up, I promise you,” Martha            ing anything but being a class act and acting how they have been.”
Bradford said. “He loved to dunk
the ball even when he was young.          TAYLOR GRIFFIN
I mean that’s all he wanted to do
was dunk, and it was just amazing         some recruiting services.               about him,” Capel said. “Obviously
to watch him.”                               Griffin had the advantage of         his talent, but when you have that
    Sports came naturally to both         watching his brother go through         talent and then you have some-
Bradford and Griffin.                     recruitment two years prior, but        thing inside you – you’re driven
    As an only child, Bradford bus-       Griffin still had a tough time decid-   like he is – that’s what makes a guy
ied himself playing football, base-       ing which school to attend. He had      special.”
ball, basketball, hockey and golf.        around 10 to 15 offers from schools
Bradford’s dad said it was easy to        like Kansas, Florida, Texas, Duke       AN AWARD-WINNING YEAR                     career-high 40 points and 23 re-         game.
tell what made his son successful.        and North Carolina.                        Both Bradford and Griffin had          bounds as OU won easily, 95-74.             Bradford received his trophy on
    “In comparison to the other              Taylor Griffin was already at        a lot on their shoulders during the          And then there was the flip.          Dec. 13. Griffin got his Sunday.
boys in his age group he was al-          OU, but the situation wasn’t ideal.     2008-2009 season.                            Bradford’s flip came on Nov. 29          “People always ask me what my
ways talented, but probably what          Coach Kelvin Sampson had re-               Before the year even began,            in Stillwater. Late in the game, as      favorite moment of this year was or
set him apart was he paid attention       cently resigned and recruits were       OU’s football and basketball teams        Bradford tried to seal a Bedlam          last year was but really its just the
more,” Kent Bradford said. “He was        pulling out of the program. Under       were expected to perform well and         victory, he sprinted toward the          process, it’s the whole year,” Griffin
into it more. That and he would           new head coach Jeff Capel, OU           Bradford and Griffin were expect-         corner of the end zone and left his      said. “It’s winning games, winning
have extra practice and extra time        went 16-15 during the 2006-2007         ed to perform even better.                feet. As he lunged for the end zone,     close games, pulling it out, watch-
shooting or out hitting balls, all        season. But late in the recruitment        The OU football team installed         he was hit low by an OSU defender,       ing teammates do this and do that.
those things.”                            process, Taylor Griffin went home       a no-huddle offense for the 2008          upending Bradford. He fell short         … I think those are the things I’ll
    Meanwhile, Griffin and his older      with a pitch for his brother.           season, and the Bradford-led of-          of the end zone, but the image of        look back on and be like, ‘Man,
brother Taylor were playing multi-           “I just said my thing and just       fense became one of the most pro-         Bradford, feet in the air, reaching      that was a good time.’”
ple sports themselves. Growing up,        told him we had a lot of fun play-      ductive in history.                       toward the goal line is what many
Griffin played football, basketball,      ing in high school and I think we          Bradford set the tone for his          called his “Heisman moment.”             THE FUTURE
baseball and soccer.                      would do the same here,” Taylor         season early with a 395-yard,                “I think that’s kind of weird …          Both Bradford and Griffin have
    “That was what I did from the         Griffin said. “I really believed in     five-touchdown performance                just one moment,” Bradford said. “I      stood out because of their accom-
moment I was done with school             coach Capel and … I think Blake         in the second game of the year            think there’s a lot more to my sea-      plishments, but both have been
until the moment I had to go to           felt a lot of the same ways and he      against Cincinnati on Sept. 6. Kent       son and to that award than just one      strong representatives of the uni-
bed, pretty much,” Griffin said.          went with it.”                          Bradford said he couldn’t have            moment, especially in that game.”        versity, as well. That’s something
“We were out in the yard or out in                                                                                                                                   Taylor Griffin said his family takes
the driveway doing whatever, so it                                                                                                                                   pride in.
was a huge part of my [life].”                                                                                                                                          “Playing football or basketball
    But after his freshman year of                                                                                                                                   here is a lot bigger than just Blake
high school, Griffin dropped all                                                                                                                                     Griffin, it’s a lot bigger than just
other sports to focus on basket-                                                                                                                                     Sam Bradford. It’s about this whole
ball. It was at Oklahoma Christian                                                                                                                                   program and the legacy and every-
School, where his father coached,                                                                                                                                    thing that’s come before it and all
that Griffin began to prepare to                                                                                                                                     the people involved,” Taylor Griffin
play at the next level.                                                                                                                                              said. “I think those guys both un-
    “It was really the time where I                                                                                                                                  derstand that and that’s why they
made my transition to being a lot                                                                                                                                    realize there’s no room for them
more serious and really working on                                                                                                                                   to be doing anything but being a
my game,” Griffin said. “Having my                                                                                                                                   class act and acting how they have
dad there, he was someone who                                                                                                                                        been.”
really pushed me really hard and                                                                                                                                        For Bradford, the near future
looking back on it, I’m so thankful                                                                                                                                  is certain: he will be at OU for at
for that now.”
    Bradford was slower to select his
primary sport. By the time he got to
high school, he had stopped play-
ing hockey but was still playing four
sports. Knee problems led him to
stop playing baseball, so Bradford
focused on football, basketball and
golf after his freshman year.
    “To be honest, for a long time
I thought basketball was what               It was shortly after that, in May     predicted Bradford’s success.                Griffin’s flip came two weeks
I wanted to do in college,” the           2007, that Griffin committed to             “I was always confident in Sam,       after his Texas Tech game. On Feb.
Heisman Trophy winner said.               OU.                                     but as a parent, you normally look        28, again against the Red Raiders,
                                            “Blake liked what coach Capel         just play-to-play,” Kent Bradford         this time in Lubbock. Griffin was
CHOOSING OU                               said to him,” Griffin’s mother,         said. “It’s all ended up that he’s        playing his first game after suffer-
   As Bradford and Griffin pro-           Gail Griffin said. “They both were      playing at the school that he’s al-       ing a concussion a week earlier. If
gressed in their high school ca-          achievement-oriented. Then              ways dreamed of and he was obvi-          20 points and 19 rebounds weren’t
reers, they began receiving atten-        Taylor coming home and telling          ously there at the right time, and        enough to convince fans he was
tion from universities that wanted        Blake that Oklahoma is a good           he’s had great coaches and great          healthy, Griffin provided one of
to offer them scholarships. Before        place for him and he felt like it       teammates and it’s all worked             the most memorable plays of the                                     PHOTO PROVIDED
long, they had decisions to make.         would be great to play together         out.”                                     season.                                  Blake Griffin (34) and Sam Bradford
   “I think probably after my             again, I think that was probably            Griffin’s tone-setting game came         While trying to chase down a          play together on Athletes First
sophomore year, that’s when I             what did it.”                           62 days later, against American           loose ball, he sprinted across the       Amateur Athletic Union team at the
started getting letters from people,”                                             University in OU’s 2008 season-           court and leapt out of bounds, div-      2005 Nike Invitational in Auguasta,
Bradford said. “Then after my ju-         COLLEGE CAREERS COMMENCE                opener. Griffin scored 24 points          ing over the scorer’s table and into     S.C.
nior year, that spring, that’s when I        When Bradford came to OU,            and pulled down a then-career-            the stands.
started getting offers from different     there weren’t many expectations         high 18 rebounds. Capel said that            The hustle play drew applause
colleges, but in no way was it like       for the Oklahoman. Rhett Bomar,         it takes more than talent to play at      from the Texas Tech crowd.               least one more season. Griffin is
Blake. He had every college in the        a former top-rated high school          Griffin’s level.                             “He only knows one way to             still weighing the pros and cons of
country calling him and wanting to        quarterback from Texas, had just            “There are a lot of really talent-    play,” Capel said after the game.        heading to the NBA next season.
talk to him every night.”                 finished his freshman season and        ed guys, but they don’t ever reach        “You’re talking about a kid who          However, both have already left
   Kent Bradford said it wasn’t until     was expected to be OU’s quarter-        their potential because maybe             hadn’t played because of a concus-       their mark on the OU program.
his son began receiving scholar-          back of the future. However, Bomar      there’s a flaw,” Capel said. “Maybe       sion. He was just so happy to be out        “I know Sam and he deserves ev-
ship offers for football that he final-   was released from the team in fall      they don’t work, maybe they’re            there playing today. Just glad to see    erything he’s gotten,” Griffin said.
ly chose football over basketball.        2006 after violating NCAA rules,        soft, maybe they think they know          that he was OK because that one          “To have [the awards] at the same
   After a successful junior cam-         and suddenly Bradford was in the        everything, maybe they have all           over the scorer’s table was a pretty     school in the same year, it’s kind of
paign, Bradford threw for 2,422           thick of things.                        the answers, maybe they’re using          nasty fall.”                             cool. I’ve lived in Oklahoma City
yards and 19 touchdowns his se-              He red shirted his first season, a   college, maybe they have one foot                                                  my whole life and to kind of do that
nior year of high school. He was          year Bradford called “frustrating,”     in the door and one foot already          THE LEGACIES                             and for people to know I’m from
named to the second-team All-             because he had never been a back-       out. What makes Blake unique and             Bradford finished his 2008 sea-       Oklahoma City, it makes me proud
State team and was a three-star                                                                                             son by leading 12-2 OU to its third-     because I’m definitely proud to be
recruit, ranked as the 17th best          “I think it sinks in every time someone asks me about it and the                  straight Big 12 Championship. The        from where I’m from.”
quarterback in the country.               more I’m around it, but it’s taken me a long time to really grasp                 Sooners went on to play Florida             Although Bradford and Griffin
   Bradford said he received five                                                                                           for a shot at the BCS National           have been close in proximity their
or six official scholarship offers.
                                          what’s happened.                                                                  Championship but lost 24-14.             whole lives, that will likely change
Former OU offensive coordinator                                                                                             Bradford finished the season with        once one or both of them begins
                                          SAM BRADFORD
Chuck Long went to see Bradford’s                                                                                           4,720 yards and 50 touchdowns.           playing professionally. However,
first spring practice in May prior to                                                                                          “I think it sinks in every time       the two officially made history on
Bradford’s senior year and called         up before. In Bradford’s second         so different is that all those things I   someone asks me about it and the         Sunday and will be linked forever
that night to offer a scholarship.        year, though, he emerged from a         just mentioned, he’s the complete         more I’m around it, but it’s taken       because of it.
   For Bradford, it wasn’t a tough        three-way quarterback battle to         opposite.”                                me a long time to really grasp              “I think it’s really cool,” Bradford
decision. His parents were OU             win the starting position.                 Both Bradford and Griffin had          what’s happened,” Bradford said.         said. “Growing up with Blake and
football season ticket-holders, and          Bradford’s first game was Sept.      memorable games against Texas             “I grew up watching Oklahoma             watching the things that he’s done
Bradford was an OU fan growing            1, 2007, against North Texas. In the    Tech during their award-winning           football. I grew up watching coach       and playing with him and to see
up. About a week after the offer          game, he broke former Heisman           seasons. Bradford’s was Nov. 22 in        Heupel, Jason White and all those        him have the success he’s had, to
was made, Bradford verbally com-          runner-up Josh Heupel’s OU re-          Norman. He threw for 304 yards            guys. The things that they did, for      be a part of it with him makes it
mitted to OU.                             cord for passing yards in a half and    and four touchdowns in OU’s               me to be mentioned with those            even more special.”
   “He was at a basketball tourna-        Heisman winner Jason White’s re-        65-21 stomping of Tech, putting           guys it’s still kind of hard for me to
ment, if you want to know the truth,      cord for consecutive completions.       OU back in the hunt for the Big 12        grasp.”                                                 See behind-the-scenes
and he was down in New Orleans            In his first two games, Bradford        South title.                                 Griffin’s season finished in                         video and interviews
and I guess he called coach Stoops        had as many touchdown passes as            Then, 84 days later came               the Elite Eight of the NC AA                            from our photo shoot
and committed,” Martha Bradford           incompletions, going 40-48 for 568      Griffin’s record-setting day. The         Tournament after a 30-6 season.                         with Blake and Sam.
said. “Then, I think [Kent] got a         yards, with eight touchdowns and        Red Raiders didn’t double-team            Griffin finished the year averaging
call from [Bradford’s] high school        no interceptions.                       Griffin, and he responded with a          22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds per
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