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College Basketball

Q&A with ... Courtney Paris and Blake Griffin

A shorter version of this Q&A appeared in SI's college preview magazine, which hit newstands this week.

How closely do you follow each other's teams?Blake Griffin: I follow pretty much all their games. If it's here [at Lloyd Noble], I usually come here. Watch 'em on TV if they're on TV. I've been to pretty much every game.

Courtney Paris: Since Coach Capel has been here, there's kinda been a new buzz with the men's team. Everybody's been keeping up a lot, with this guy coming in. They're paying a lot of attention to him.

Did you follow his recruiting pretty intensely?CP: Yeah. I helped get him here. (laughter) I was crucial in the decision-making. Me and his brother. So they brought you through his living room last to close the deal?CP: Yeah. That's all it took. How intensely do you follow each other? Do you critique or support?CP: I think it's hard because once you get going, you get going. You just try to keep up as much as you can. I know when we're on the road, we'll turn on the TV and, if the men's team is playing, we'll watch 'em, see what they're doing. BG: I'm not gonna tell her how to play her game. She's doing a pretty good job so far. What about, like, if a game turns on a bad call or something. Like, you got hosed by this-and-that. Will you offer supportive griping?BG: Yeah, I would say something like that. Me: What do you guys like about each other's games?CP: It seems like he just loves to play. He dominates. He's aggressive. He'll try to dunk on everybody. (laughter) You know what I mean? I like that: aggressive players who are not afraid. Just unstoppable.BG: I just like how she dominates. There hasn't been a player like her in a long time in college basketball, getting every rebound. Her record of however many double-doubles. 92 straight?CP: I think so. BG: [mimicking CP's modesty] I forgot. I guess after the first 20 or 30 straight you probably lose count.BG: I was definitely impressed by that [the streak]. And just the way no one can really stop her. You just hope to slow her down.

As someone who tries to fill out a linescore similarly, how amazed are you that she can just walk out there and, as sure as the sun rises from the east, put up 20 and 15?

BG: I mean I wish I could do that. Then you have guys like Michael Beasley in our league who can do it every once in a while. But no player has done what she's done so many times in a row and so consistently. It's impressive.

You both have siblings on your teams. What are the pros and cons of playing with your twin sister and brother?CP: I'd say the pros are you grew up with that person. And college is such a big deal anyway that you go through a lot and you experience a lot. And them being on the team, you invest so much time into it. And just everything can get overwhelming at times, in a good and a bad way. So it's just kinda cool for me to have my twin sister [Ashley] going through the same thing. The cons are I have to have a c on my jersey before Paris. It can't just be Paris. BG: I would say the same thing. You grow up with somebody and you know them so well. And Taylor being older than me; this is his fourth year. So he's gone through pretty much everything that I've gone through. That's why I have somebody that I can talk to. I look up to him a lot as a role model. Just the way he works and he carries himself. Cons... people getting us confused. That's annoying [laughter].But I bet that's more annoying for you, CourtneyCP: They probably look more alike than we do -- and we're twins! BG: People always ask if we're twins. We had a class together, and my teacher always thought I was the older one for a long time. (laughter) Does that bond ever manifest on the court, where you guys might be able to look at each other or speak in some sort of foreign twin language and hook up on a play?BG: Nothing like what you see in the movies, but there have been times when we were both thinking the same thing and it worked out.CP: Coming at it from a different angle, I know what Ashley can do and I know what she can't do. When I'm on the court, sometimes there are passes where the guards are like, We can't do it. We can't do it. But she'll think, Courtney can do it. I'll just throw it right there. You've played with each other your whole life that you just get used to it.

Would it be weird if you didn't play with your sibling?BG: It'd be a little different -- just because I'm so used to playing with him. CP: I haven't played against Ashley since the sixth grade. I've played on different teams from her, but never against her. I'd feel a little bit weird going against her. How'd you guys pick your jersey numbers?

CP: I remember when I was in the sixth grade, I had just gotten on this AAU team. And the coach says, 'you've got to get your uniform! You gotta pick a jersey number.' And I was like, 'what number do you think I should be?' And he was like, '45 or 55. Post players usually where the big numbers.' I remember the guard on my brother's high school team was No. 3. So I said, 'ok, I'll have 3.' (laughter) BG: I was No. 15 for most of my playing career. I couldn't be 15 last year because David Godbold had it. I didn't really know what number I was gonna get until [strength and conditioning coach Darby Rich] texted me and said 23 was available. I don't know why he did, but he did. So I told him, yeah, let's go with that. I didn't realize it was going to be as big of a deal as people made it. You can't just wear 23 with out people invoking Tisdale.BG: They told me that the number wasn't retired. They just retired his jersey. So when I did that, somebody said something about it. Then somebody wrote an article about it and it just kinda escalated from there. So has 23 called you to be like, yo, don't mess my digits up...?BG: [laughter] I actually did talk to him before I got it. Coach Capel was like, out of respect, since people are making such a big deal about it, just call and ask him if it's cool. And I did, and he started laughing. He was like, 'I don't care, man. That's your number. Go ahead and wear it with pride.'

When you called him, did he have a ringback tone and, if so, was it one of his tracks?

BG: He didn't! That would've been cool though

Me: Who's the bigger style icon: Coach Capel or Coach Coale?

BG: Coach Coale. CP: You have to give it up to Coach Coale.BG: What's that group that follows her? CP: The Sooner Stilettos. There's a whole group just named after her shoes. She big for wearing stilettos at the games. BG: Coach Capel's got style. He's always got fresh Nikes on. He's got some pretty sweet suits.Who's the most famous person you've met through basketball?CP: Omigosh ... Blake Griffin! What's the weirdest thing someone's asked you to sign?BG: I signed a rubber duck once. CP: A rubber duck? How does this even happen?

BG: It was in high school, after our state championship game my senior year. This girl came up to me with a rubber duck and was like, 'will you sign this?' [laughter] So I signed the top of it and gave it back to her. CP: I signed somebody's face before, on their cheek. What kind of pen do you use to sign someone's face?CP: A Sharpie.

You put a Sharpie to someone's face?

CP: Their parents said it was OK! It's not my fault...

Based on your bios, it seems like we could easily have been having this conversation in Storrs, Conn., as both of you were recruited by UConn, but ultimately turned them down for OU. What's not to like about being a Husky?BG: Weather CP: Oh yeah. BG: And that it was so far away. CP: If I hadn't gone here, I probably would've gone to Connecticut. But I wanted to do something at a different type of program. Even though the Sooners went to the Final Four a couple years back, they never won it. And they didn't really have that strong tradition like Connecticut has. I kinda wanted to be part of a group that could build that tradition, build the program up a little bit more instead of jumping into one that was already built. I have a lot of respect for the program and Coach Auriemma.

Both OU men's and women's voted Big 12 preseason No. 1s by the conference's coaches which, I think, is the first time that's ever happened. Short term: What are the odds you guys finish No. 1 in the conference? Long term: What are the odds you guys finish No. 1 in the draft?

CP: Well I certainly hope we finish No. 1. I remember my freshman year we went undefeated in the conference and that was pretty cool. It'd be nice to try to do that again on the way out. As far as finishing No. 1 in the draft, I think for me it's going to be what that team needs ... whoever gets the first pick.

If they need a guard or a swingman. We've got pretty good guards and pretty good forwards. If they need a center, hopefully they'll go with me. We'll see.

BG: Like she said, I hope finish out first. We haven't been conference champions in a while here. We're definitely trying to do something like Courtney said, change the culture of our program, and make that more of an annual thing.

As far as going No. 1 in the draft, that's not really something that I worry about, something I think about because I feel like if we have a good year as a team, things will take care of themselves. I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't go No. 1 just because ultimately my goal is to have a good two years, however many years here and then when it's time, have a good career there.

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