Source: Mason-Griffin leaves OU
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Monday, March 22, 2010
3/22/10 at 10:02 AM
NORMAN — Tommy Mason-Griffin, who at times brought hope to an Oklahoma basketball season that gradually deteriorated, may have played his last game for the Sooners.
A source close to Mason-Griffin confirmed that the freshman point guard left last week, spring break week at OU, with no intention of returning.
Mason-Griffin could not be reached for comment. Coach Jeff Capel would not comment on Mason-Griffin specifically when reached through OU media relations. He indicated he planned to meet with all of his players upon returning from recruiting later this week.
The last time Mason-Griffin spoke about his future was after the Sooners' season-ending Big 12 Tournament loss to Oklahoma State March 10. Asked in the locker room if he planned to return for his sophomore season, he replied: "I'm not sure, but as of right now I am. I'll sit down with coach Capel and have conversations about certain things."
It is unclear if those conversations took place. Capel has spent much of his time on the recruiting trail since the season ended.
If Mason-Griffin is indeed done, it represents the latest hit for a program that has taken more than its share.
The Sooners finished their 13-18 season on a nine-game losing streak. Last week, a report that freshman forward Tiny Gallon received a $3,000 wire transfer from a Tampa-based financial adviser surfaced, putting his OU career in jeopardy. Guard Willie Warren is expected to turn pro, provided he recovers from his March 3 ankle surgery sufficiently.
There has been serious doubt about OU's entire roster, really, since an 83-68 loss to Kansas State Feb. 20, when Capel said: "Scholarships are not guaranteed for next year."
Mason-Griffin seemed to be safe at the time. He averaged 17 points to lead OU in conference play, while logging 39 or more minutes in 13 of the Sooners' last 16 games, when he showed signs of recovering from setbacks earlier in the season.
Mason-Griffin was late returning from Christmas break and did not start OU's games against Gonzaga Dec. 31 and Maryland Eastern Shore Jan. 4. Then he sat out the first half of the Sooners' Big 12 opener at Baylor Jan. 9 as a result of a practice fit.
He grew into somewhat of a comfort zone as the conference season progressed, but nobody ever seemed fully content.
Speaking of Mason-Griffin and Gallon in late January, Capel said: "Both of those guys still have a large ceiling for improving. It's just will they listen? Will they really understand that our job is to try to help them become better? That's young guys in general.
"A lot of these guys, when things aren't going the way they want them to go, or the way they anticipated them going, the natural reaction is to blame the coach. Or, 'He's not letting me play my game.' It's just listening and approaching every day as an opportunity to get better and not just 'OK, I want this day to get through. I hope this isn't too long a day.'"
Mason-Griffin, meanwhile, admitted it was tough adjusting to more rigorous practice and class demands than those he faced in high school. He also struggled at times meshing his game with Warren's, and with Capel's principle that the success of point guards is measured by wins, not statistics.
If Mason-Griffin does not return and Warren turns pro, it would leave OU without a scholarship point guard. That's a problem Capel would have to address during the late signing period beginning April 14.
Guerin Emig 581-8355
Tommy Mason-Griffin averaged 17 points to lead OU in conference play. Sarah Phipps / The Oklahoman