Bumped. And Bravo.
Call me old fashioned, but it is as important to me in how you play the game, regardless of whether you win or lose.
Being new to this forum, and considerably than those among you who post of this site, I expect to offend some, and be criticized by many. Having been a "fan" of OU athletics since the 1950's, I certainly have opinions. I recently retired and moved to Norman in order to "enjoy" sporting events that I previously did not have access to, except for those broadcast by television. For the record, this just completed basketball season was far LESS successful than I had hoped for.
ALL of us have opinions, and are entitled to such, but rest assured that when there is disagreement with me, you will not become "idiots" as I am often accused of being by the local talking heads that have the luxury of their bully pulpit by way of the local radio networks. I will not quote "sources" and then refuse to identify that source. My eyes are my source.
Like the start of any new season, fans have high hopes, high expectations, and finally despair sets in as the season plays out and your team becomes a disaster. Like a lot of you, I drank the kool-aid and believed the hype provided by the media and also coach-speak provided prior to the season. For the record, I'm not just talking about wins and losses.
I had the privilege to attend every home basketball game this season, and essentially watch every road game on television. Fans are a fickle lot, and with the record that played out over the season, I was not surprised (just disappointed) to watch the attendance at home games fall off dramatically. IMO, the loyalty that exists for OU football is non-existent when it comes to basketball. And don't bother to point out that OU is a "football school." What exactly is that? Please don't insult me by calling yourself a "fan: when you only show up if the team is winning. All programs (look at UNC this year) go through ups and downs, but loyal fans show up regardless, even when it is hard to watch.
In hindsight, it should be easy to grasp the tremendous loss of Blake and Taylor Griffin, as well as Austin Johnson. this comment is not based on the loss of their talent. It is based on their LEADERSHIP. This year's team had a total lack of leadership. The leadership I am talking about comes from the players, NOT the coach and his staff.
Early in this season, it seemed obvious to me that there was a lack of "chemistry" with this team. This team was made up of individuals, some with talent, some without, who were solely concerned with individual statistics, and could care less about the team, and the University of Oklahoma.
Willie Warren has talent. When he wants to play, he can be very good. When he's not interested, or things aren't going well for him, he becomes pouty, selfish, his body language reeks, and he should be sitting on the bench next to coach Capel.
Keith Gallon is an enigma. Like Warren, when he is interested, he teases the fan with skills that indicate what he might be capable of if he just cared. I watched him "care" in about four games the entire season. If it frustrates you and me, imagine how much it frustrates coach Capel.
TMG has obvious offensive skills, but is totally lacking defensively.
As all three grew up, it is obvious that they were never expected to play defense. It was all about the offense. That's what shows up on tv highlights. I doubt that coach Capel is the ONLY coach in the country who thinks defense leads to victories. Generally speaking, the best teams in the country play solid defense, and offense essentially takes care of itself. How many great defensive plays lead to fast-break points. Can't prove it, but doubt OU had more than a half dozen fast-break lay ups this season. Defense is basically EFFORT. Schemes are required, but effort rules. This basketball team has lacked defensive effort the entire year with the exception of Cade Davis and Tony Crocker.
If I have a problem with coach Capel this year, it lies in the fact that he recruited these MAA's in the first place. I would hope that he did more than watch tape of their offensive skills. I would hope that he had verbal interviews with these recruits. I would hope that he spoke to the people who "coached" them prior to offering a scholarship to OU. If not, then shame on him. I suppose it's natural for him to think that he could "change" them and teach them how to play defense and how to understand a "team" concept, but apparently he was wrong. I know that getting an MAA to commit to your school is ego boosting and gives fans some bragging rights. Well, how has that worked out this year?
Coach Capel has basically played 7 to 8 players this season. What is the purpose of the other scholarship players sitting on the bench? Are they just practice fodder? With the lack of effort from some of his starters, why not let others play? My only requirement is effort. Let the MAA's watch from the bench. The only real control coach Capel has is playing time. If you try, you play. If you don't, you sit. I would rather lose a game while watching players (with less talent) try, than lose a game and watch players (with more talent) NOT try.
Finally. If all these "talented" players come back next year, how is it going to be any different? With their current attitudes, it seems to me like it will just be the like deja vu. I would be willing to start over and suffer the consequences, than witness a repeat of what I sat through this year.
Insanity is often defined by repeating the same thing and expecting a different. result. I don't think coach Capel is insane. At least I hope not.
Let's put this one behind us. Let's call it a learning experience. Let's look forward to next year. But please, learn from the experience.