The former North Crowley star announced Thursday morning that he will enter the NBA Draft and hire an agent, meaning his decision to leave the program after two seasons is final.
"This was a stressful decision and one that I've been stuck in the middle on for a little while," Warren said in a statement. "I didn't like how things went this year with my injury and everything, but I also feel like I have the skills to take the next step. Some of the things I need to work on like being a better leader and being more vocal are things I can do at the next level.
"I talked to my mom extensively the last few weeks and I feel like the best move for me is to make the jump. Coach [Jeff] Capel is in my corner and said he'll help me out as much as he can.”
Warren was a consensus freshman All-American and a second-team All-Big 12 pick as the Sooners advanced to the Elite Eight in 2009. Coaches named him honorable mention All-Big 12 the past season when he led OU with a team-high 16.3 points per game. He missed 10 games--eight because of an ankle injury that required season-ending arthroscopic surgery on March 3.
But Warren’s leadership was in question all season -- dating back to the summer -- even though he scored at least 24 points six times in the season's first 11 games as the Sooners struggled early and then failed to live up to overly-optimistic preseason expectations.
"My freshman year I feel like I made some big contributions and I was somewhat satisfied," Warren said. "I feel like I could have scored more, but I understood the makeup of our team and it was a great feeling to make it all the way to the Elite Eight.
“My sophomore year was up and down and tough on all of us. It was a rollercoaster ride, especially for me with my ankle injury and being sick. But if I had to make my decision all over again, I would make the same one to attend OU.
“It was the best experience of my life and I want to thank all the Sooner fans who were behind me. My ankle is doing great and now it's time to take the next step."
Capel has already lost standout freshman point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin to the NBA draft and now faces another major task in rebuilding the program for the second time in Capel's four seasons without a star like Blake Griffin to build around.
Freshman forward Tiny Gallon, who had a difficult freshman season, currently is unable to participate in the off-season program while the university investigates his relationship with a financial advisor. He remains in school, though his future at OU is uncertain.
OU signed two players in November--6-foot-6 winger Cameron Clark of Sherman and 6-3 combo guard T.J. Taylor of Denison, both of whom were highly recruited. The Sooners also recently received an oral commitment from Oklahoma player of the year Tyler Neal, a 6-6 small forward from Putman City West.
Six scholarship players are currently on campus, including Gallon, leaving OU with four and possibly five scholarships (if Gallon leaves) to give.
-- Mike Jones