NEW YORK, June 25 (UPI) -- Forward Blake Griffin of the Oklahoma Sooners was made the first pick in the NBA Draft Thursday by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Griffin, who left the Sooners after two seasons, averaged 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35 games last year. He set a school record with 25 double-doubles, had a team-high 41 blocked shots, finished third with 80 assists and shot 65.4 percent from the field, mostly on a variety of dunks.
He will be counted on to give some life to a franchise that has made the playoffs only twice in the last 16 years.
"We're not going to think about what's happened in the past," Griffin said. "I'm just excited about the opportunity to make the best out of whatever situation that I'm put in."
Griffin was one of 24 players from American colleges taken among the 30 players in the first round. The first international player taken was Ricky Rubio of Spain, one of four picks made in the opening round by Minnesota.
Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet was the second pick, taken by Memphis, after which James Harden of Arizona State went to Oklahoma City and Tyreke Evans of the Memphis Tigers went to Sacramento. Minnesota had both the fifth and sixth picks and the Timberwolves took two guards -- Rubio and Jonny Flynn of Syracuse.
Minnesota also took guards, both from North Carolina, with its other two first-round picks -- Ty Lawson with choice No. 18 and Wayne Ellington with selection No. 28.
Six players from the Atlantic Coast Conference and five from the Pac-10 Conference were picked in the first round. With the 23rd pick, Sacramento took forward Omri Casspi of Israel, who will try to become the first player from his country ever to play in the NBA.