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Wooden Award Names Blake Griffin and Maya Moore 2009 Winners

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, April 10, 2009, at 06:30PM
Wooden Award Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Connecticut's Maya Moore and Oklahoma's Blake Griffin stand with their trophies after being honored as winners of the 2009 Wooden Award at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.



The Los Angeles Athletic Club presented its 33rd set of Wooden Award trophies this evening, honoring Oklahoma's Blake Griffin and Connecticut's Maya Moore as college basketball's top male and female players.

Griffin averaged nearly 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Sooners in 2009, leading them to the Elite Eight before the team lost to eventual champion North Carolina. Moore's Connecticut team went a perfect 39-0 in 2009, winning the National Championship earlier this week.

Griffin's coach, Jeff Capel, praised the NBA-bound player's impact on the Oklahoma program. "It's hard to really put it into words, what he's meant," Capel said. "He's been a guy that's made it kind of cool to come to Oklahoma."

The pair beat out three other finalists, Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair, North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough and Oklahoma's Courtney Paris.

Also honored was Texas coach Rick Barnes, who was presented with the Legends of Coaching award.

Earlier in the afternoon the pair of collegiate honorees had helped coach a tournament featuring four teams from Special Olympics Southern California. It was the fourth year the Athletic Club and Special Olympics had teamed up for the tournament.

Afterward, both athletes expressed how much fun it was to work with the athletes from Special Olympics. "That's the best, when people come in and they're really here to have fun and because they love basketball," Moore said. "You get a chance to kind of break it down and kind of keep things in perspective and realize how if they can come out and play with so much energy and passion, there's no excuse for why I shouldn't wake up every day and be as excited as they are."

So did the All Americans offer up some useful coaching advice? "I'd like to say I did, but I think they did everything on their own," Griffin said. "They did well."

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