The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 28, 2009

Warren says he's coming back

South Regional Notepad

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Oklahoma fans can breathe one sigh of relief. Guard Willie Warren told The Transcript Saturday afternoon he plans to return to school next season.

“I’m pretty set on coming back,” Warren said.

The freshman guard, who’s averaged 14.5 points a game this season, was the Big 12 Conference’s Freshman of the Year and made several freshman All-American teams this season, had previously said he might leave if OU was able to advance to the Final Four and win a national championship.

He could accomplish at least one goal with a victory today over North Carolina.

Warren’s stock for the NBA draft isn’t well-known. Some media outlets have listed him as a first-round pick, others haven’t.

Warren, however, believes it would help him to play another year and at least one as the focal point of OU’s offense, which he was when Blake Griffin missed two games earlier this season with a concussion.

The conventional wisdom is that Griffin will make himself eligible for the NBA draft following OU’s season, making Warren the No. 1 scoring option for next season.

“I definitely want to come back and play another year and play a year without Blake to see how good I really am,” Warren said.

The rivalry

never ends

If it involves college basketball, there’s always some way to make it Duke vs. North Carolina.

OU’s Blake Griffin even joked Saturday if the Sooners lost today, OU coach Jeff Capel, a Duke graduate, would revoke the players’ scholarships.

Capel, who is also a North Carolina native, has a vast knowledge of Tar Heel lore and admitted growing up a fan of the program before playing for its bitter rival.

“I have a lot of respect for them,” Capel said. “They’re incredible. They’re the best team we will have played all year long, and I haven’t even played them yet.”

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