Oklahoma State's James Anderson has done everything right. Oklahoma's Tommy Mason Griffin is doing everything wrong.
A source close to Mason-Griffin told the Tulsa World that the freshman point guard left Oklahoma during spring break last week with no intention of returning to school. Neither the school nor the player have confirmed anything at this point, but if true, this is a huge mistake for Mason-Griffin and another sign that Oklahoma needs to find some players who want to be there and start over.
Let's look at Mason-Griffin first: He averaged 14.1 points and 5 assists a game as a freshman, good numbers but those don't tell the full story. Mason-Griffin is listed at 5-foot-11, his questionable shot selection contributed to 39.8 percent shooting and several clashes with Oklahoma's Jeff Capel have led to doubts about his willingness to respond to coaching.
DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony tweeted Monday that he expects Mason-Griffin to go undrafted, adding that the "market for 5'10 overweight combo guards w/inflated egos" is pretty limited.
If Capel speaks candidly, he probably wouldn't disagree. Asked by the New York Times after Oklahoma's opening-round Big 12 tournament loss whether any of his players were NBA-ready, Capel responded, "That's an insult to players in the NBA."
To be fair, Capel has some incentive for Mason-Griffin to remain in school. After all, even with Mason-Griffin, the highly touted Sooners suffered through a disastrous season, losing their last nine games to finish 13-18.
The offseason has started even worse for Oklahoma. According to a TMZ report earlier this month, freshman big man Tiny Gallon violated NCAA rules by accepting a $3,000 wire transfer from an agent. Plus, there's talk that sophomore guard Willie Warren will also turn pro if his ankle injury heals sufficiently for him to conduct workouts.
Meanwhile at rival Oklahoma State, Anderson is leaving school at exactly the right time and in exactly the right way.
The Big 12's leading scorer and player of the year this season announced Monday he will forgo his senior season and enter the NBA draft. The junior guard could have left a year ago but opted to return to school, playing his way from a fringe first-rounder at the beginning of the season to a potential top-20 pick.
"It was a very difficult decision for me to make," Anderson said at a press conference Monday in Stillwater. "After discussing the pros and cons with my parents and coach Ford and my high school coach, I believe now's the time to pursue my dream by playing in the NBA."
He's right, and best of luck to him. Now let's hope Mason-Griffin reconsiders.
- Jeff Capel