Jan. 17, 2003
Coach Sampson Audio
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Ranked fifth in the current AP and ESPN/USA Today polls, Oklahoma (10-3 overall, 1-1 Big 12) will travel to face Iowa State (10-3, 0-2) on Saturday at 3 p.m. CST inside James H. Hilton Coliseum in Ames. The only regular season meeting between the teams will air live on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOMA 1520 AM in Oklahoma City, KFAQ 1170 AM in Tulsa) with Bob Barry, Sr. (play-by-play) and Mike Houck (analyst) calling the action. The matcup will be televised regionally by ESPN Plus (KOCB Ch. 34 in OKC, KJRH Ch. 2 in Tulsa) with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Paul Splittorff (analyst) announcing.
AVERAGES IOWA STATE PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 4 Jackson Vroman (6-10, 230, Jr.) 12.2 9.2 C 51 Jared Homan (6-9, 245, So.) 7.5 6.8 G 0 Jake Sullivan (6-1, 190, Jr.) 18.6 3.7 G 2 Adam Haluska (6-5, 215, Fr.) 11.3 4.3 G 12 Tim Barnes (6-0,170, Jr.) 10.1 3.9
OKLAHOMA PROJECTED STARTERS PPG RPG F 34 Kevin Bookout (6-8, 260, Fr.) 8.5 5.9 C 21 Jabahri Brown (6-10, 210, Jr.) 7.1 5.8 G 2 Ebi Ere (6-5, 215, Sr.) 17.5 5.7 G 4 Quannas White (6-1, 190, Sr.) 6.3 3.5 G 10 Hollis Price (6-1, 170, Sr.) 17.5 2.5
STATISTICAL COMPARISON Category Oklahoma Iowa St. Overall Record 10-3 10-3 Points Per Game 73.0 75.3 Opponent Points Per Game 58.5 63.0 Rebounds Per Game 38.9 40.0 Opponent Rebounds Per Game 31.9 30.7 Field Goal Pct. .440 .476 Opponent Field Goal Pct. .406 .390 3-Point Pct. .348 .384 Opponent 3-Point Pct. .351 .355 Free Throw Pct. .731 .727 Personal Fouls Per Game 18.4 17.3 Assists Per Game 14.5 12.8 Turnovers Per Game 11.8 13.5 Blocked Shots Per Game 3.4 6.5 Steals Per Game 9.1 5.9
The Sooners had their four-game winning streak snapped at rival Oklahoma State Monday night, 48-46, as Victor Williams' controversial game-winning basket was ruled to have beaten the 35-second shot clock with 3.6 seconds left in the game. Replays and photos revealed the ball was still in Williams' hand when the shot clock hit zero. Senior guards Hollis Price and Ebi Ere averaged 18.5 and 18.4 points, respectively, entering the game, but scored six each on combined 4-for-24 field goal shooting. Oklahoma turned in a .327 field goal performance (its second worst of the season) and also hurt itself at the free throw line by going just 7-for-15 (the team entered the game shooting a Big 12-best .747 from the foul line). On the bright side, freshman forward Kevin Bookout posted his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high-tying 11 boards. Also, OU's six turnovers were its fewest since it had five against Arizona in last year's Sweet 16.
Price, the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, and Ere had been sensational on offense prior to Monday, and average 17.5 points per game each. Price has made 29-of-31 free throw attempts over the last four games and is the reigning Big 12 Player of the Week after averaging 26.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in wins over Connecticut and Colorado. On the season, Price is also averaging 2.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals while shooting a Big 12-best .920 from the foul line. Ere, who has led the team in scoring in eight of 13 games, also averages 5.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals per outing. He won Big 12 Player of the Week honors the week before Price. Senior point guard Quannas White scored 10 points against OSU and averages 6.3 points, a team-high 3.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game, and sports a superb 3.4 assist-to-turnover ratio to rank second in the Big 12 (just 1.1 turnovers per game).
Bookout averages 8.5 points and 5.9 rebounds while center Jabahri Brown averages 7.1 points and 5.8 boards. Brown has blocked 17 shots over the last seven games (2.4 average).
ABOUT IOWA STATE
After starting the year 10-1, Iowa State has lost its last two contests, both conference outings. The Cyclones dropped their league opener, a home game against Kansas Jan. 6, 83-54, and fell at Texas last Saturday, 70-50. Iowa State is 8-2 at home and 2-1 on the road this season, including a 73-69 win at rival Iowa. Coach Larry Eustachy's team leads the Big 12 with 6.5 blocked shots per game, ranks second with a +9.3 rebounding margin and third with a .727 free throw percentage.
Junior guard Jake Sullivan ranks third in the conference in scoring with an 18.6 points-per-game average and second with his .914 free throw mark. He is shooting .407 from the three-point line and has drained a team-high 22 treys. Junior college transfer Jackson Vroman ranks second on the squad with his 12.2 points per game and is the Big 12's third-leading rebounder with a 9.2 average. He is shooting better from the field (.546) than from the free throw line (.527). Freshman guard Adam Haluska averages 11.3 points and 4.3 boards per outing and has made 20 treys. Junior point guard Tim Barnes is scoring 10.1 points per game and ranks third in the league with 6.1 assists per contest. He sports a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The 2000 and 2001 Big 12 Coach of the Year, Eustachy is 94-48 (.662) in his fifth year at Iowa State. He coached at Idaho and Utah State before moving to Ames and owns a 253-134 (.654) career record.
IOWA STATE SERIES HISTORY
Oklahoma leads the overall series with Iowa State, 102-75, but trails 43-34 in Ames. Kelvin Sampson is 6-5 against the Cyclones as OU's head coach and is 2-3 at Hilton Coliseum. The Sooners lost 100-82 in 2001, the last time they played in Ames. It is the only game under Sampson that OU gave up 100 points in regulation (gave up 100 in triple overtime against Nebraska in 1996). Last year, Oklahoma posted an 89-75 win in Norman on Senior Night. Aaron McGhee had 26 points and 10 rebounds in his final home game at OU while fellow seniors Daryan Selvy (7 points), Richard Ainooson (2) and Michael Cano (1) also scored. Hollis Price added 24 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals as OU closed out a perfect 16-0 home season. Tyray Pearson led the way for Iowa State with 20 points and nine rebounds.
OKLAHOMA STATE LEFTOVERS
Alabama opened the season with 68 points against the Sooners, the highest figure surrendered by OU this year. Oklahoma has held two opponents to point totals in the 40s, four in the 50s and seven in the 60s. The last time OU held 13 straight opponents to less than 70 points in a single season was the 1959-60 campaign (also first 13 games of the year). In the last nine games, Sooner foes are averaging a mere 55.8 points.
In the last nine games, Oklahoma has limited Hartford, Coppin State, Georgia State, Mississippi State, UNC Asheville, Michigan State, Connecticut, Colorado and Oklahoma State to a collective .373 field goal mark (178-for-476), dropping the team's field goal percentage defense figure from .480 prior to the Hartford game to .406 now. Also, OU averaged just 1.0 blocked shot in its first four contests but is averaging 4.4 over its last nine games.
Senior Hollis Price attempted 99 free throws last year (2.8 per game). This year, however, Price has already attempted 75 foul shots (5.8 per game). He has made 29-of-31 free throws over the last four games and had a streak of 27 consecutive makes snapped at Oklahoma State on Monday (Ryan Minor holds the school record with 30 consecutive makes during the 1995-96 season). Price leads the Big 12 with his .920 season free throw mark and ranks second on the OU career free throw percentage chart with an .846 figure (Bo Overton shot .852 from 1980 to 1983). John Ontjes holds the OU single-season record (.867 in 1993-94).
A TOP-10 HIT
Oklahoma is ranked fifth in this week's AP poll, making it 21 consecutive weeks that OU has appeared in the poll's top 10 (dating back to Jan. 5 last year). The Sooners were ranked No. 3 in last season's final edition and debuted in the same spot this year.
Senior guards Hollis Price (18.5) and Ebi Ere (18.4) are averaging a combined 36.9 points per game, a figure that ranks third among Big 12 tandem leaders. Only one other duo has averaged more points under ninth-year head coach Kelvin Sampson. Nate Erdmann (20.5) and Corey Brewer (17.5) averaged 38.0 combined points per game in 1996-97 to rank fourth on the Big 12's all-time tandem scoring chart.
OU's starting guard trio of Ebi Ere, Hollis Price and Quannas White undoubtedly forms one of the nation's top backcourts. The threesome has accounted for 57 percent of the team's points, 63 percent of its assists and 49 percent of its steals. The three guards have also made 72 percent of OU's three-pointers on the year and 67 percent of its free throws.
HEAVY IN THE BACK(COURT)
Sooner backcourt members have scored 649 of the team's 949 points this year. That means 68 percent of OU's scoring has come from its guards. The guards have also registered 155 of the team's 188 assists (82 percent).
OU BOARDING SCHOOL
Since being outrebounded by Alabama (38-32) and UC Irvine (31-29) in their first two games of the year, the Sooners have outboarded their last 11 opponents by an average of 9.0 caroms per contest. Oklahoma registered a season-high 52 boards against Colorado last Saturday. Against Prairie View A&M on Nov. 30, OU posted a 50-25 rebounding advantage (including a 27-1 margin in offensive rebounds). On the season, Oklahoma is outrebounding its opponents by a 7.0 margin per game.
Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson has long stressed protecting the basketball and his OU squads have heeded his words over the years. The Sooners ranked second in the Big 12 last year by averaging just 11.9 turnovers per game. OU led the league in 2000-01 and 1999-00 by averaging just 12.7 and 12.8 miscues per outing, respectively. The Sooners, who only had six turnovers Monday against Oklahoma State (its fewest since commiting five vs. Arizona in last year's Sweet 16) rank first in the Big 12 this season with only 11.8 turnovers per game. Also, OU has committed the same or fewer turnovers than its foes in 11 of 13 games.
One of the best guards to ever wear an Oklahoma uniform, senior Hollis Price is averaging 17.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game this season. He has already passed 10 players (Corey Brewer, Bobby Jack, Garfield Heard, David Little, Aaron Curry, Al Beal, Mookie Blaylock, David Johnson, Terry Evans and Harvey Grant) on the school's all-time scoring chart this season. Price now stands 12th on the career list with 1,437 points and needs 25 points to tie Chucky Barnett for 11th. If he duplicates last year's 577-point performance this season, Price will wind up seventh on the career scoring list. The New Orleans native also ranks second in career free throw percentage (.846), third in three-point field goals (176), third in three-point field goal attempts (480), fifth in minutes played (3,557), fifth in steals (191), seventh in assists (409) and ninth in steals per game (1.7).
Price was named Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year by league coaches and media and is also a candidate for the Wooden and Naismith Awards. Additionally, he picked up preseason All-America honors from Playboy. Price averaged 16.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game last year to earn first-team All-Big 12 honors, as well as third-team All-America recognition from The Sporting News. He concluded the season by earning Big 12 Tournament and NCAA West Regional MVP honors.
Said OU head coach Kelvin Sampson, "To me, he's our heart and soul. Hollis embodies what we want in a Sooner basketball player. The way he practices, the way he carries himself off the court, the way he performs in the classroom, his effort and his pride are impressive. There are very few things in the future that I dread, but I can honestly tell you that I'm really, really dreading senior night. I'm going to really enjoy every minute I'm with Hollis this year because I don't know when I'll get another one like him."
ERE STELLAR AT START
Guard Ebi Ere has had a super senior season to date. The 6-5, 215-pounder has led the Sooners in scoring in eight of 13 games and ranks sixth in the Big 12 with his 17.5 points per outing. He also averages 5.7 rebounds to rank third on the team. Last year he shot .427 from the field but so far this year he sports a .467 figure. Ere also averages 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals per outing. Against Princeton in the Sooner Invitational championship game, he registered 27 points (two shy of his then-career high), seven rebounds, a career-high six assists, a blocked shot and two steals. Versus Hartford, he set a career high with 33 points and added eight boards, three assists and a steal in 28 minutes.
THE FUTURE IS NOW
While preseason publications raved about OU's experienced veterans, fanfare about the team's newcomers paled in comparison. Four freshmen have seen significant minutes this season. Forward Kevin Bookout has started all 13 games and is averaging 8.5 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds while shooting .554 from the field in 28.3 minutes per contest. He became just the second freshman under ninth-year OU coach Kelvin Sampson to start the first game of a season. Guard De'Angelo Alexander is averaging 5.5 points and 3.6 boards in 18.6 minutes per outing and registered a career-high 14 points Dec. 30 against UNC Asheville. Center Larry Turner is averaging 1.3 points and 1.5 boards in 9.2 minutes per contest. Redshirt freshman forward Matt Gipson is averaging 3.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 7.6 minutes per outing. Collectively, the quartet has scored 217 points (16.7 per game) and grabbed 149 boards (11.5 per game).
In eight-plus years under Kelvin Sampson, the Sooners sport a 107-10 record (.915) when scoring at least 80 points. OU was 15-0 under the circumstance last year and is 5-0 this season. The Sooners have won 46 of their last 48 games (.958) when scoring 80 or more.
A CHARITY CASE
Oklahoma has traditionally been a sound free throw shooting team under Kelvin Sampson as seven of his previous eight squads have finished first or second in the conference in the category. Last year, the Sooners, who finished seventh nationally in free throw shooting, led the Big 12 with a .767 season mark (they shot an amazing .798 in league games) and broke the school record of .755 set in 1985-86. OU is again off to a great free throw shooting start this season. Through 13 games, the Sooners own a .731 free throw mark, second best in the Big 12.
HOME IS WHERE THE "W" IS
Lloyd Noble Center has always been extremely kind to the Sooners. Oklahoma, which posted a perfect 16-0 mark at home last year and is 9-0 this season, is 350-59 (.856) inside the building since it opened for the 1975-76 campaign. The Sooners are 113-16 (.876) at home under ninth-year head coach Kelvin Sampson and have won 31 straight. The 31-game home winning streak is OU's longest since winning 51 in a row in the late 1980s and early 1990s and is the nation's second longest current streak (BYU has won 44 straight).
SAMPSON SIGNS STELLAR HIGH SCHOOL CLASS
Oklahoma signed four high-schoolers to national letters of intent Nov. 13. The class, which includes point guard Andrew Lavender, swingman Brandon Foust, combo guard Lawrence McKenzie and post Longar Longar, has been rated as one of the nation's 10 best.
Lavender is a 5-7, 155-pounder from Brookhaven (Ohio) High School who averaged 11.0 points and 10.8 assists per game last year in leading his team to a state title. He is generally regarded as one of the country's top two or three point guards and is a top-20 national recruit. Lavender's teammate, Brandon Foust, is a 6-6, 200-pounder who averaged 12.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a junior. Foust is considered one of the nation's top 60 players. The duo led Brookhaven to a 27-1 record last year.
McKenzie, 6-1 and 165, has won three state titles at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, Minn. The former teammate of current Sooner Johnnie Gilbert averaged 15.0 points, 8.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game last year. He is regarded as a top-75 national recruit and appears on some analysts' top-50 lists.
Longar, a 6-10, 210-pounder originally from Sudan, averaged 15.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks last year at John Marshall High School in Rochester, Minn. He is considered a top-50 recruit by most analysts.
"I've never been into recruiting rankings," said OU head coach Kelvin Sampson. "I look at how the players a team recruits fill the needs of that team. We will lose three starting guards after this season in Quannas White, Hollis Price and Ebi Ere. Lavender, Foust and McKenzie will not only form a great backcourt, but they're all freshmen. And Longar will be a freshman in the frontcourt. He's an investment who possesses two things you can't teach -- size and athleticism. These kids all come from great high school programs and learn from great coaches."
OU SECURES BEST PRESEASON AP RANKING
OU's No. 3 preseason AP ranking marked its highest ever to start a season. The Sooners' previous best AP ranking heading into a season was No. 5, in both 1984-85 and 1988-89. Oklahoma finished both of those seasons ranked No. 4 in the AP poll under head coach Billy Tubbs.
OU RANKED NO. 1 BY ESPN.COM
ESPN.com ranked the Sooners No. 1 in the nation in its preseason power poll Nov. 13. Oklahoma is in front of No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Kansas, No. 4 Pittsburgh and No. 5 Florida. Said ESPN.com's Jay Bilas, "The Sooners are the toughest and hardest nosed team in the nation. Kelvin Sampson has a durable and resilient group that is deep and athletic, and has embraced Sampson's style of playing smashmouth basketball on both ends of the floor. Oklahoma sends four athletes to the offensive glass, rebounds the ball with ferocity, gets into your chest and defends with an aggressive and physical demeanor, and has the mental make-up to win the national championship."
OU BOASTS NATION'S SECOND-LONGEST POSTSEASON STREAK
OU has participated in either the NCAA Tournament or National Invitation Tournament in each of the last 21 seasons. During that stretch the Sooners have made the NCAA field 17 times and have played in the NIT on four occasions. The 21-year streak is the second longest in the nation. OU trails only Indiana, which has made 25 straight postseason appearances.
EIGHT STRAIGHT...AND COUNTING
Oklahoma has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of Kelvin Sampson's eight years in Norman. Only eight other schools have made the "Big Dance" each of the past eight seasons (Arizona, Cincinnati, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Stanford and UCLA).
MODEL OF CONSISTENCY
Oklahoma has registered a winning record in 25 of its last 26 seasons. No other Big 12 team can boast as many winning campaigns since the 1975-76 season as the Sooners. OU has posted a 588-251 (.701) record over the past 26 years.
THE LAST THREE YEARS
Over the last three seasons, Oklahoma has amassed an 84-19 (.816) record, good for the nation's fourth best winning percentage and fourth most wins during the span:
By Winning Percentage
1. Duke (.880)
2. Cincinnati (.825)
3. Stanford (.821)
4. Oklahoma (.816)
1. Duke (95-13)
2. Cincinnati (85-18)
2. Tulsa (85-23)
4. Oklahoma (84-19)
UNDER KELVIN SAMPSON ENTERING 2002-03...