Perhaps lost in the shuffle in this weekend's college football games is men's basketball team opening up their practices. Fans were given their first glimpse of new Oklahoma basketball coach Lon Kruger's offensive and defensive philosophy along with seeing the new guys in action.
Coach Kruger wants to speed up the tempo of the game which will require more from the guards but will hopefully take advantage of opponent turnovers. Its a brand of basketball that fans have longed to see for quite some time now but its also a style that's going to take the players some time to get used to.
"At UNLV we wanted to push the ball the last seven years, and we certainly want to do that here. We'll be attacking all the time ... We'll pressure defensively and want to (fast break). But to do that we'll have to rebound well. We're not very big." - Coach Kruger
Helping Oklahoma make the transition to a faster paced tempo is a handful of new players who could become top performers for the Sooners' new coach.
Junior Center Casey Arent - At 6-10/235 Arent is the biggest guy on the team. As a sophomore he shot 52% from the field with an average of 19 points and 11 rebounds per game at Sierra College (CA). He'll need to be a physical presence inside for the Sooners and not shy away from banging around under the rim but it may also take him some time to adjust to the physical play of the Big 12. He was a first team all-conference player at Sierra.
Freshman Guard James Fraschilla - If that last name looks familiar to you it probably should. James is the youngest son of ESPN analysts Fran Fraschilla. Not expected to get a lot of playing time as a walk-on, James could most likely get some additional attention by at least one analysts thrown Oklahoma's way.
Junior Guard Sam Grooms - Shot 38% from three-point range last season as a sophomore at Chipola College (FL) where he was a first team all-conference selection after averaging 11 points and 6 assists per game. He was ranked at the third best JUCO recruit in the nation last year.
Sophomore Guard Jarrod Kruger - Another recognizable last name (Head coach Lon Kruger's nephew) Jarrod won't see any action in the 2011-12 season because of the NCAA transfer rules. He comes to Oklahoma as a transfer from Kansas State.
Junior Forward Amath M'Baye - Will also sit out the 2011-12 season for the NCAA transfer rule. M'Baye started all 31 games last season at Wyoming averaging 12 points and 5.7 rebounds for the Cowboys.
Junior Forward Romero Osby - Was a member of the team last year but couldn't play for the Sooners after transferring from Mississippi State. Will be looked upon for leadership and will play both inside and outside for Oklahoma this coming season.