Well new OU basketball coach Lon Kruger has wasted no time in getting to work on proving wrong all those who doubt his recruiting abilities by gaining a commitment from one of the top JUCO point guards in the country. Sam Grooms of Chipola Junior College has become the first commit of the Lon Kruger era after an on-campus visit this past weekend.
"It's just amazing," said Grooms of Oklahoma who will sign with the Sooners on Wednesday. "It's just amazing and I wanted to be a part of it."
Grooms came to campus this weekend on an official visit, played a little hoops, chatted with Kruger, and made the call late Sunday night.
"I knew when he went out there that he was very excited about it so I knew it was going to be a possibility," said Chipola Head Coach Jake Headrick. "I also knew a lot of other people wanted him to visit, but he said he felt like it was the perfect situation he'd been looking for."
As OU basketball fans are well aware, point guard was an issue pretty much all throughout former coach Jeff Capel's tenure so it's very encouraging to see Coach Kruger make a point to address it early.
As you would have heard last night on Sooner Nation when we were joined by Jay of Rebel Reign, Kruger is known to be honest and direct with recruits. Rather than "selling" them on why they should come play for him, he'll simply lay it all out there without sugarcoating it and allow the kid to make the decision they feel is best. It's an approach Bob Stoops has used as well and I think we've all seen how it can benefit a program. More often than not you get a kid that genuinely wants to come and play for your coach/school rather than one who is just biding his time for the next thing. According to Grooms, this approach was one of the aspects of his visit he appreciated the most and clearly played a role in his decision to commit.
"I can actually believe what Coach Kruger is saying," Grooms said. "You can tell that he genuinely has a vision and a plan in the way that he talks. Everything that he says, it allows me to believe that this is the right spot for me."
"Coach Kruger is not a man that's a beggar," said Grooms. "He's very, very sound in what he's going to do. He tells you what he thinks about and what he needs you to do. That's point blank. You take it or you leave.
"That approach right there was enough for me because every place you visit, you have people telling you that you're going to get this or going to get that or you can do this or you can do that. He just told me straight up that we need a guy like you. You can help us and I can help you and that was good enough for me."
Grooms also came away from his visit incredibly complimentary of OU and Norman, which is always a great thing to hear as an OU fan. Because a lot of times, at least for someone like myself who follows recruiting pretty closely, you almost get the sense that some of the kids who visit don't appreciate just how much we as fans value OU and all those who wear the crimson and cream. So when a kid like Grooms comes away saying some of what you're about to read, I kind of take it as a compliment being a die hard OU fan and supporting the programs (plural people!) no matter what.
"The hospitality and the love you feel when you get in Norman, Okla., is something that people need to experience, just the genuine approach people have towards Oklahoma and just in general the school," Grooms explained. "I personally like the players. I like the players and the environment of the school, football-wise and just being a part of something that has traditionally been great and knowing that I'll be a part of something that's becoming great again. That's a real big key for me. I really couldn't turn it down."
Grooms showed just how self aware and well spoken he came across after committing when he spoke about his future competition at the point guard spot for the Sooners.
"I definitely sensed that on my visit," said Grooms of the desire to find better production at the point guard spot. "It's no knock to anybody that's out there. Carl Blair and those guys are really good. I could sense it when I was there. OU fans will be proud when they see what goes on."
Finally, Grooms also gave a little credit to Kruger's predecessor in regards to his interest in Oklahoma.
"It started with Coach Capel when he started recruiting me earlier," he said. "He kept telling me about the environment and when I see it I'm going to love it. Then Coach Kruger just added on to that. I really believed what he said. As soon as I got to campus, it was something crazy."
So credit to Coach Capel for getting our foot in the door and while it's appreciated, you have to give even more credit to Coach Kruger for playing the role of closer and securing a very, very nice first commit for our basketball program!
Welcome to Sooner Nation Mr. Grooms!!!
I'd also like to thank our friends at SoonerScoop.com ($) for the quotes from Grooms.