Basketball News & Notes - November 15th

Buy tickets! Fill up the Lloyd Noble Center! 

While there were still plenty of Sooner fans in attendance on Saturday, the official attendance was just shy of 7,000 people. This isn't bad considering it's a season opener against a non-conference opponent that won't make headlines, and it was the same day as a home football game. However, Jeff Capel is starting something special here in Norman. We have already signed two Top-100 recruits for 2010. And the team for 2009 is entertaining and talented! Support this team! They deserve a full house! Consider this my plea for better attendance...

The biggest headline was the win this weekend over Mount Saint Mary's, 95-71, at the Lloyd Noble Center. Five Sooner players were in double digit scoring range, and freshman guard Steven Pledger lead all scorers with 21 points. All eligible players were suited up for the game, except for walk-on Ryan Randolph. Here are a few notes from the game:

  • Tony Crocker was helped off the court just before halftime. He fell to the ground awkwardly, and may have had a blow to the head. He returned in the second half and appeared fine.
  • It seems like the bench will be much deeper this year. OU outscored Mount St. Mary's 43-20 in bench points, and the bench players accounted for 45% of the scoring.
  • Willie Warren continues to prove that he's a well-rounded, and mature player. In addition to his 15 points, he dished out 11 assists and was very involved on both ends of the floor. He also had 2 steals and 4 rebounds. 
  • Tiny Gallon was a force on the glass. He had 15 rebounds in addition to 18 points. He was a big reason why the Sooners won the offensive glass by an 18-6 margin, and Mount St. Mary's had very few second chance points.
  • Gallon also had a thunderous alley-oop dunk late in the game. If we can get video of that, we'll be sure to post it.
  • In addition to Tiny Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin, the two most touted recruits arriving this year, Steven Pledger and Andrew Fitzgerald continue to impress. Fitzgerald is another big body down low, and he seems comfortable in the transition or half-court sets. He could challenge for a starting job soon. Steven Pledger doesn't seem like he'll be an all-around, dynamic scoring  threat like Willie Warren, but man can that guy stroke it. He's probably one of the best pure shooters on the team, right up there with Cade Davis. With those two guys, we should have two big time perimeter threats.
  • On the negative side of things, we gave up too many easy layups and transition points (10). The easy layups seemed to be more of a breakdown on the weak side of the defense, and a lack of rotation to help near the basket. It seems to be more inexperience than anything, and I'm guessing this will improve soon. There were some occasions where the transition defense was superb, and we shut down several scoring chances this way.
  • Is it just me, or does this team start slow? It seems like in the first two games, we've been played close in the first half, and blown it wide open in the second half.

Game Wrap-up

Quotes from players and coaches
Final Box Score (Sooner Sports)
Sooner Sports [dot] Com Wrapup

2010 Recruiting Class

Before the match-up with Mount Saint Mary's, Oklahoma managed to sign the #18 recruit nationally (ESPN) - Cameron Clark. Sooner fans have reason to be even more excited about the future of basketball in Norman now, as Jeff Capel one again proves his recruiting prowess. Clark is a 6'6" wing player. Here are some talking heads:

Oklahoma gets a guy who has size, is a solid athlete and a guy who's a really, really good mid-range player who's going to eventually extend to beyond there.  I think he's a little bit of a late bloomer, and once he gets his strength and confidence will be a very, very productive player for them in college. [...] He can get a bucket when he needs to. At the end of the day, all things aside, the guy can score.  --Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Dave Telep

Because of his athleticism, he has the ability to make some 'wow' plays.  He shoots the ball very well from mid-range and he can shoot it to 3 (-point range).  He also has the ability to do things off the bounce.  I anticipate him being a big-time wing player for us, a guy who can be a tremendous defender and one who'll be flying around making plays all over the floor.  We're very excited that he's a Sooner. --OU Basketball Coach, Jeff Capel

Clark will join point guard T.J. Taylor in the 2010 recruiting class. Taylor is ranked #71 nationally by ESPN. Clark is a 4-star recruit on Scout.com, and Taylor is a 3-star. Rivals.com has them both rated 4-star recruits.

Some Other Potential Recruits

OU is still in the mix for some other talented recruits. We are listed for ESPN #15 recruit, small forward Terrence Jones. We are also listed for ESPN #33 recruit, shooting guard Doron Lamb. Lamb was quoted in this article:

Asked if he had a leader at this point, the 6-4 Lamb said: "It’s a three-way tie out of Kentucky, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Sooners Open Up At A 5 Seed In Bracketology

Joe Lunardi of ESPN has started up his bracketology page again. OU opens up as a 5 seed (playing Boston College, for what it's worth).

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