OU Men's Basketball Blog

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
SEPTEMBER 09, 2009

Welcome to the Oklahoma men's basketball blog on SoonerSports.com.  Here you will find team updates from OU Associate Director of Athletics Communications Mike Houck.  Visit often for behind-the-scenes information, photographs and video.

  Monday, Aug. 9
  Lester Lane

Former University of Oklahoma men's basketball All-American, football player and track-and-field athlete Lester Lane will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday as a member of the gold-medal-winning 1960 USA Olympic team that competed in Rome, Italy.  The story of Lane, the USA starter at point guard who went on to be named OU's head basketball coach in 1973 but died before ever coaching a game, is a fascinating one.  Columnist Berry Tramel chronicled it well in this article that appeared in yesterday's edition of The Oklahoman.

  Tuesday, Aug. 3

Rivals.com released this week its list of the nation's best coaches under the age of 40, and OU's Jeff Capel was No. 3.  Here's the rundown of the top-10, with ages in parentheses.

1. Brad Stevens, Butler (33)
2. Scott Drew, Baylor (39)
3. Jeff Capel, Oklahoma (35)
4. Buzz Williams, Marquette (37)
5. Ben Jacobson, Northern Iowa (39)
6. Chris Mooney, Richmond (38)
7. Tony Barbee, Auburn (39)
8. Josh Pastner, Memphis (33)
9. Kevin Willard, Seton Hall (35)
10. Keno Davis, Providence (38)

  Monday, July 19

Jeff Capel
announced his team's 2010-11 non-conference schedule yesterday, a 14-game slate that starts Nov. 12 at home against Coppin State.  Here's the schedule:

2: Northern State (exhibition)
12: Coppin State
15: North Carolina Central
18: Texas Southern
22-24: EA SPORTS Maui Invitational (Lahaina, Hawaii)

1: at Arkansas
5: at Arizona (Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series)
9: Gardner-Webb
11: Oral Roberts
18: vs. Cincinnati (All-College Classic, Oklahoma City)
21: Sacramento State
30: Central Arkansas

3: Maryland Eastern Shore

Guerin Emig
wrote this interesting feature on former Sooner Ebi Ere that appears on the front page of this morning's Tulsa World sports section.  Ebi has done quite well for himself overseas since his senior season of 2002-03.

  Thursday, July 15

Forward Nick Thompson is one of nine OU newcomers for 2010-11.  We sat down with the 6-9, 212-pounder yesterday for a pair of interviews -- one off camera and a quicker one on camera that are viewable here.  He made it very clear in both sitdowns that he loves basketball, and he summed up his feelings toward the sport very succinctly at the end of the video session.

We're aiming for one "Getting to Know" feature for each of the next eight weeks, so stop back regularly.

  Thursday, July 1

Less than 24 hours after directing USA to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in San Antonio, Texas, Jeff Capel will open his inaugural fantasy camp today at Lloyd Noble Center.  The four-day event will feature more than 30 campers (men at least 30 years old) and several former Sooner greats who will serve as camp head and assistant coaches. 

Included on the list of former players are Alvan Adams (1976 NBA Rookie of the Year), Al Beal (ranks first at OU in blocks and fourth in rebounds), Kevin Bookout (No. 3 at OU with his 57.4 career field goal percentage), Terry Evans (OU record holder for career assists and 3-pointers, No. 2 in steals), Harvey Grant (1988 All-Big Eight), Blake Griffin (2009 National Player of the Year), Skeeter Henry (All-Big Eight, leading scorer on 1990 AP No. 1 team), Tim Heskett (third in school history in 3-pointers), Darryl "Choo" Kennedy (ranks fourth in OU history in points), John McCullough (1979 Big Eight Player of the Year), Hollis Price (2003 first-team All-American), Terry Stotts (1980 All-Big Eight and former NBA head coach) and Jeff Webster (OU's second all-time leading scorer).  Former head coach Billy Tubbs (most wins in school history) will serve as camp co-commissioner with Capel.

  Monday, June 28

Bryan Goodman
, who was promoted to assistant coach earlier this month, filled in for head coach Jeff Capel on this morning's Big 12 media teleconference (Capel's USA U18 squad was conducting its shootaround for tonight's game against Argentina).  Below are a couple of Goodman's responses to questions about team chemistry and leadership:

On how high a priority it is to develop team chemistry this year:
"It's our No. 1 priority.  I think with nine new team members, getting these guys together and learning about each other and forming that chemistry is obviously a big issue for us.  We've talked as a staff about just worrying about the things that we can control.  Obviously there's a lot going on that we can't control.  But we're excited about sort of a fresh start.  I think we have nine new great guys to fit with a crew that we believe in coming back.  We're looking forward to it."

On the importance of leadership from senior guard Cade Davis:
"I know Jeff's talked about this in the past, but I think one of our problems last summer was that no one really set the tone for those new guys coming in.  We thought we had some leadership in place, and for reasons out of our control it wasn't there.  That's what we're looking for from Cade more than anything.  With the new guys getting here, he has to establish how things are done and (explain) how we do things a certain way -- just the work ethic, the way you behave, the way you conduct yourself on and off the floor.  We can rely on Cade to do that and trust in him that he's doing what we want to be done.  So his critical role this summer is to establish that with these new guys coming in.  So far, he's doing that."

  Thursday, June 24

Sooners Tiny Gallon and Willie Warren were both selected in the second round of tonight's NBA Draft.  Gallon went No. 47 overall to Milwaukee while Warren went No. 54 overall to the Los Angeles Clippers.  If he makes the team, Warren of course will be reunited with 2009 NBA Draft overall No. 1 pick Blake Griffin.  The pair teamed to help lead OU to the 2009 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.  Griffin said tonight, "I think we got a steal."  Click here for more from Griffin and for comments from OU head coach Jeff Capel.

The purpose of former Sooner Ebi Ere's visit to Norman today was twofold.  The starting guard on OU's 2002 Final Four team and its 2003 Elite Eight squad wanted to say hi to members of the current team and to staffers such as former teammate Jozsef Szendrei (now OU's strength coach), athletics trainer Alex Brown and administrative assistant Renee Forney -- all of whom worked at OU when he was a student.  But Ere also felt the need to settle up with OU's parking and transportation office after nearly a decade.  Click here for a video update on the Tulsa native's successful overseas pro career, his family and some pesky parking tickets.

  Tuesday, May 25

Oklahoma fans who have never seen Mississippi State transfer Romero Osby in action, here's your opportunity.  We've assembled a two-minute highlight video of the 6-8, 245-pound forward from his days as a Bulldog that showcase some of his inside/outside offensive abilities.  Osby, who will sit out the 2010-11 season due to transfer rules, will be a junior in terms of eligibility in 2011-12.  He averaged 4.3 points and 2.6 rebounds in 13.1 minutes a game for MSU last season and shot .462 from the field and .410 from 3-point range (16-for-39).  He wore jersey No. 5.  Here's the release announcing his transfer and here's the highlight video.

  Friday, May 21
  Ray Thurmond

Sad to report the passing today of former OU assistant men's basketball coach Ray Thurmond.  A hoops assistant from the 1967-68 through 1970-71 seasons under former head coach John MacLeod, Thurmond was 89.  Until recently, Thurmond, who also served as OU's head golf coach, was pretty much a daily fixture at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club, where he would talk Sooner shop with anyone who had the pleasure of encountering him.  If you had a minute, he had a story.  Or three.  He particularly enjoyed reminiscing about Garfield Heard and Clifford Ray, former hoops standouts who helped OU start the escape from two decades of relative obscurity.  But his love for Oklahoma extended well beyond the hardwood and the fairways.  In fact, Thurmond was also the longtime play clock operator at Memorial Stadium for OU football games.

The Sooner Nation lost a good one today.  We'll miss you, Coach.

  Wednesday, May 12

Head coach Jeff Capel has said on multiple occasions over the past few weeks that the six players returning from last year's squad (Cade Davis, Andrew Fitzgerald, T.J. Franklin, Kyle Hardrick, Steven Pledger and Ryan Randolph) have worked extremely hard with strength and conditioning coach Jozsef Szendrei since the season ended.  Szendrei confirmed Capel's comments in a recent interview following a weight room workout.  In the interview, Szendrei talked about building a foundation, establishing work ethic and discipline, and the importance of player leadership.  Click here to watch.

  Monday, May 10

Video has surfaced of Sooners Cade Davis and Beau Gerber rocking out at OU's recent athletics department talent show.  The roommates teamed up to perform an acoustic rendition of Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," with Gerber on guitar and Davis on vocals -- and both of them in '80s hair band attire.  The song was released in 1988, the year Davis was born and when Gerber was 1 year old.  Little was lost in the generation translation, however, as the OU duo pretty much nailed the performance and tied for first place in the competition (they lost in a cheer-off to men's golfer Chris Wilson, who performed his own piano composition).  Here's the Davis/Gerber video.

  Thursday, April 22

The NCAA announced today a new 14-year television, Internet and wireless rights agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., to present the Division I Men's Basketball Championship beginning in 2011 through 2024 for more than $10.8 billion. As part of the agreement, all games will be shown live across four national networks.

Also, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee unanimously passed a recommendation yesterday to the Division I Board of Directors to increase the tournament field size to 68 teams beginning with the 2011 Championship. The recommendation will be reviewed by the Division I Board of Directors at its April 29 meeting.

Beginning with the 2011 championship, opening-, first- and second-round games will be shown nationally on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.  CBS and Turner will split coverage of the regional semi-final games.  CBS will provide coverage of the regional finals, as well as the Final Four including the National Championship Game through 2015. Beginning in 2016, coverage of the regional finals will be split by CBS and Turner with the Final Four and the National Championship game alternating every year between the CBS Television Network and Turner's TBS.

  Friday, April 16

Oklahoma signed the third member of its 2010 recruiting class today as high school forward Tyler Neal inked his name to a letter of intent.  Neal, a 6-7, 220-pound forward from Putnam City West High School in Oklahoma City, is the reigning Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year.  He averaged 18.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in helping the Patriots to a school-record 22 wins and to the Class 6A state tournament semifinals.  Click here for more details on Neal and to read OU head coach Jeff Capel's comments.

Jeff Capel
met with local media for nearly 40 minutes today to discuss the state of the program.  Capel said he's excited for the Sooners' future and is looking forward to the opportunity to get better.  Watch here.

  Thursday, March 18

OU signee T.J. Taylor of Denison, Texas, is one of 21 of the nation's top 18-and-unders who have accepted invitations from the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee to attend the 2010 USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team training camp. The training camp, which will be held June 14-16 at the University of Texas at San Antonio, will be used to select the 12-member team that will represent the USA at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. The USA U18 National Team will remain in San Antonio June 17-25 to continue training prior to the start of the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will be held June 26-30 at St. Mary's University's Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio. 

  Tuesday, March 9

OU, which is the No. 10 seed in this week's Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, arrived in Kansas City Monday evening and practiced at Rockhurst University before going out to dinner.  The Sooners will work out at Rockhurst again this afternoon before heading to the Sprint Center for a 40-minute open practice (3:45-4:25).  OU plays No. 7 seed Oklahoma State Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT.  The game will be televised regionally by the Big 12 Network and can also be seen on ESPN Full Court and ESPN360.com.  The Sooners have won six of their last eight games against OSU and nine of their last 13, but the Cowboys have won both Bedlam meetings in the Big 12 Championship (60-57 in 1999 and 71-70 last year). 

  Friday, March 5

Tomorrow's 11 a.m. game against No. 23 Texas A&M will mark the last at home for seniors Tony Crocker, Beau Gerber and Ryan Wright.  All three took a few minutes this week to reflect on their OU careers, share their favorite memories and to deliver messages to fans in the following videos:

Video  Tony Crocker
Video  Beau Gerber
Video  Ryan Wright 

  Wednesday, March 3

It's no real secret that senior forward Beau Gerber loves rock music.  Earlier this season, the former walk-on blogged about his favorite bands and even reviewed an AC/DC concert.  Last week, however, Gerber actually showcased his music skills by playing guitar for a feature on Jeff Capel's television show.  Click here to watch the story and to hear Capel's remarks about Gerber, who will play in his last game at Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday when the Sooners host Texas A&M at 11 a.m.  The feature was shot and edited by OU undergraduate student James Dawkins.  Fellow OU student Claire Brandon did the interviewing.

  Wednesday, Feb. 24

The OU men's basketball program will hold a reunion for former players and coaches this Saturday when the Sooners take on Baylor at 12:30 p.m. at Lloyd Noble Center.  More than 60 alums (some of them lettering as far back as the early 1940's) will be on hand and recognized at halftime.  Some familiar names scheduled to appear include:

Steve Bajema (averaged 11.9 points and 8.4 rebounds on Billy Tubbs' first OU squad), Al Beal (ranks 19th in school history in scoring and fourth in rebounds), Skeeter Henry (leading scorer on 1989-90 team that finished regular season ranked No. 1 in the country), Tim Heskett (holds OU single-season record for 3-point percentage with his .473 mark in 1998-99), Bobby Jack (1972 first-team All-Big Eight selection), David Johnson (OU's No. 15 all-time scorer), Darryl "Choo" Kennedy (ranks No. 1 at OU in games played, No. 2 in rebounds and No. 4 in points), Joe King (a two-time all-conference pick in the 1950's), Bo Overton (ranks No. 2 in career free throw percentage and No. 3 in assists), Ted Owens (played from 1948-49 through 1950-51 and later served as head coach at Kansas), Ken Pryor (hit game-winning shot against Texas to propel OU to 1947 national title game), Renzi Stone (played on four NCAA Tournament teams including 1999 Sweet 16 squad) and Tommy Tubbs (member of two Big Eight champion teams in the early 1980's).

Baylor is ranked No. 24 in this week's AP poll.  The Sooners have beaten the Bears 14 straight times in Norman.

  Wednesday, Feb. 17

Sophomore guard Willie Warren and freshman forward Tiny Gallon, who both missed Saturday's game at Oklahoma State, traveled with the team yesterday and are expected to play tonight at Colorado.  Warren practiced the last two days after missing Saturday's loss with a virus and Gallon will return from suspension.

Warren leads OU and ranks ninth in the Big 12 in scoring with his 16.2 points per game, and ranks fifth in the league with his 4.2 assists per outing.  Gallon is the Sooners' leading rebounder (ranks seventh in the league with his 8.0 average) and also contributes 10.4 points per contest.

Tonight's game starts at 8 CT and will be televised on ESPNU.

  Tuesday, Feb. 9

In advance of tonight's game against Texas Tech in which he will be recognized at halftime, reigning national player of the year Blake Griffin joined local reporters for a teleconference yesterday.  Here is some of what he had to say:


On his rehab from January knee surgery: "I started I think about a week after surgery, so it'll be two weeks coming up of full rehab and really just working on strengthening my quad and all that.  That's about it.  I'll be doing that for a while and start traveling with the team once I can do a little bit more stuff."

On how difficult it's been to not play this year: "It's been tough to, first of all, miss a season opener and all that.  I thought I was going to be able to come back and play mid-season or so.  And then finding out that I needed surgery was tough, but at the same time this surgery is something that I needed to do.  I wanted to just take care of the problem and not have to deal with it in the future."

On coming back to be honored on the same floor that Wayman Tisdale was honored a couple of days ago: "I'm very excited.  I heard the other day during the Texas game it was amazing, and I'm glad it was honoring a Sooner legend.  I'm just happy to be able to come back and see people and come back to the place where I had two great years and had a lot of fun.  I wouldn't trade those years for anything."

On what he's told Tiny Gallon over the phone this season: "I've talked to Tiny a lot about things that he can do to make it easier on him.  I always tell him just to run the court, post hard and not worry about anything else and everything else will come.  I realize that it's frustrating to be a freshman, especially in a conference like the Big 12.  But for the most part, I think everyone's been doing a good job.  They just need to keep up, keep working."

On what he's most looking forward to on his visit: "Just seeing the guys and seeing everything.  I haven't been able to be back in Oklahoma I think since late August or early September.  I mean, just to get back and see everybody.  I definitely want to try to see a win on Tuesday night."

On the business side of the NBA and on Mike Dunleavy stepping down as Clippers' head coach last week: "It's definitely different, especially to come from college.  To lose teammates and then to get teammates through trades and all that, it's weird.  Guys will be here one day and be gone the next.  It definitely kind of reminds you that this is a lot of business.  The team's going to do whatever possible to put the team in a winning position.  To lose a coach like that, you know it happens, but I think we'll be all right."

On the adjustment from college to NBA from his experience in preseason games: "The most difficult thing was just the speed of the game.  Everything's happening a lot faster.  It was kind of the same going from high school to college.  It's the same thing.  You just have to pick up the speed, but once you get it down it's just playing basketball like we've always done.  I hope I can take some of the experience from preseason and use that all year and keep watching and put that to good use next year."

On if he'll attend NBA All-Star Weekend festivities: "No, I'm actually not going to go this year.  I'm just going to kind of take it easy and hang out and after All-Star Weekend hit the rehab hard again."

  Thursday, Feb. 4

Big news today with the announcement that music superstar Toby Keith will perform his No. 1 single "Cryin' For Me (Wayman's Song)" at halftime of Saturday's game against Texas as the Sooners celebrate the life of Wayman Tisdale.  Joining Keith in performing the song, which reached No. 1 on the charts just today, will be members of Tisdale's jazz band.  Keith, from Moore, Okla., grew to become close friends with Tisdale before his passing and even collaborated musically with OU's all-time leading scorer and rebounder.  Click here for details on all of Saturday's events and check back for a special announcement Friday regarding Tuesday's home game against Texas Tech.

It's no secret that Tommy Mason-Griffin is having a very good inaugural collegiate season, but did you know the point guard is putting up some numbers that could go down as the best in OU freshman history?  If the Sooners play at least two games beyond the regular season and Mason-Griffin continues at his current pace, he will finish first in school freshman history in both 3-point makes and assists.  He also has the opportunity to log the most minutes per game of any OU frosh (he barely trails Wayman Tisdale) and his current .446 3-point field goal percentage is better than Terry Evans' freshman record of .423.  The 5-9, 203-pound Mason-Griffin is averaging 12.7 points per game (ranks seventh among OU freshmen) and 4.6 assists in 34.1 minutes per contest.  He ranks third in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage, fourth in assists and sixth in 3-pointers per game (2.1).  In Big 12 play, he leads all league freshmen with his 17.4 points and 3.1 treys per game.

  Friday, Jan. 29

Winter weather conditions prevented the Oklahoma men's basketball team from departing for Lincoln, Neb., today and have resulted in a later tip time for Saturday's game at Nebraska.  Officials from both universities and the Big 12 Conference agreed to move the game at the Bob Devaney Sports Center from 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. CT.  The Oklahoma and Nebraska coaches will participate in the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers weekend during Saturday's game to raise awareness for the need for a cure for cancer.

Saturday's game at Nebraska was originally scheduled to be televised by the Big 12 Network and ESPN Full Court, but, due to the late start, will now not be televised.  However, SoonerSports.com is planning to stream a free, live video webcast of the contest.  The webcast will be available here.

  Thursday, Jan. 28

Freshman point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin delivered one of the best individual performances in Lloyd Noble Center history last night, finishing with 38 points and six assists while playing all 40 minutes (the last 3:45 while battling leg cramps) in an 89-84 win over Iowa State (click here to watch highlights).  In the process, he became the first OU freshman in 26 years to score 20 or more points in three consecutive games (Tim McCalister last did it in the 1983-84 season).  Here are some more tidbits from his effort:

Mason-Griffin's 38 points were...

• The most scored by a Big 12 player this year
• The most scored by an OU freshman since Wayman Tisdale in 1982-83
• The most scored by a freshman guard in school history
• Tied for the most scored by a point guard in school history (Mookie Blaylock in 1988-89)
• Tied for the fifth most by a freshman in Big 12 history (only Kansas State's Michael Beasley scored more)
• The second most scored by a Sooner since the 1993-94 season (Blake Griffin scored 40 last year)

"TMG" also became the first Sooner guard since Hollis Price in 2002-03 to score at least 20 points in three straight games.  He's averaging 28.3 points over those three outings and in OU's six Big 12 games is shooting .500 from 3-point range (20-for-40). 

  Friday, Jan. 22

OU fans are used to seeing junior Cade Davis flying around the court whenever he's on it.  This year, that's been quite a bit.  The 6-5, 199-pound guard is averaging more than 28 minutes per game this year.  As a result, his scoring (8.6), rebounding (3.5) and steals (1.7) averages have increasesed significantly over his first two years as a Sooner.  Davis has been particularly impressive over the last three games, averaging 11.0 points, 7.3 boards and 2.0 steals while shooting 50 percent from the field.  SoonerSports.com's Tory Kukowski visited with Davis Thursday for a video profile in which the Elk City, Okla., native talked about a variety of on- and off-the-court subjects, including his expanded role this year.   

The Sooners leave Norman this afternoon for Lubbock, Texas, and will take on Texas Tech (13-5, 1-3) Saturday at 7 p.m. (the game will be televised on the Sooner Sports Network).  Here's a look at OU's itinerary for Friday and Saturday, a fairly standard one for the team's road trips.

2:15-3:15 p.m. -- Practice at Lloyd Noble Center
3:45 p.m. -- Depart LNC for Will Rogers Airport
4:30 p.m. -- Depart Oklahoma City for Lubbock
5:30 p.m. -- Arrive in Lubbock
7-8 p.m. -- Practice at United Spirit Arena
8:15 p.m. -- Dinner at hotel

10 a.m. -- Breakfast at hotel
11 a.m. - noon -- Shootaround at United Spirit Arena
3 p.m. -- Pre-game meal at hotel
5:30 p.m. -- Depart hotel for arena
7:07 p.m. -- Tip off
10 p.m. -- Depart Lubbock for Oklahoma City
11 p.m. -- Arive in Oklahoma City
11:30 p.m. -- Arrive in Norman

  Friday, Jan. 15

Feel like you don't know much about OU junior Orlando Allen?  Here's a chance to change that.  The center from Cincinnati, Ohio, who is probably one of the lesser known players on the Sooners' roster despite the fact he's in his second year in Norman, sat down with SoonerSports.com before practice Thursday and recorded this interview.  The 6-10 Allen shared interesting stories about his childhood, including details of his youth boxing career and the time he jumped into a lions den at the zoo.  Really.

OU fans are encouraged to wear white shirts to tomorrow's noon game against a Missouri team that has won nine in a row.  The game marks "Cheer Like a Champion Day" and the first 2,000 fans through the Lloyd Noble Center doors will receive a free, white "Cheer Like a Champion" T-shirt.  A limited number of $25 and $10 tickets remain.  Call the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 456-4668 for more information.  LNC's north and east box offices will open at 10 a.m. Saturday.

  Thursday, Jan. 14

Jennifer Van Tuyl
, an OU junior from Stroud, Okla., wrote a feature story on the Sooners' Cade Davis for Big12Sports.com.  The story, which can be found here, focuses on Davis' upbringing in the western Oklahoma town of Elk City and his passion for the game of basketball.  Did you know that Davis competed in rodeos as a kid?

  Wednesday, Jan. 13

Sad news out of Los Angeles today, as the NBA's Clippers announced that Blake Griffin, college basketball's national player of the year last season at OU, will have surgery on his left kneecap and miss the entire 2009-10 season.  Griffin injured his knee in the preseason and reports had him possibly making his professional debut later this month.  That all changed with today's Clippers announcement.

OU head coach Jeff Capel had this to say this evening: "I hate to hear that Blake is having surgery and will miss the rest of the season.  I know how much basketball means to him and I know his dream has always been to play amongst the greatest player in world.  However, I know he will approach this with the same determination he does with everything in his life and will come back a hungrier and better player because of this."

  Friday, Jan. 8

Baylor has not beaten Oklahoma since Jimmy Carter was president -- some 32 years ago to be exact.  The Bears have not defeated the Sooners in Waco since Dec. 14, 1955 -- when Dwight D. Eisenhower was in office. 

OU's win streak against Baylor stands at 30 games.  It's victory streak in Waco has reached 16 games.  Will those survive the weekend?  Saturday's 5 p.m. CT meeting at the 10,284-seat Ferrell Center may provide the Bears their best chance of beating the Sooners in quite some time.  That's because Scott Drew's squad has won eight straight games to move to 12-1 on the year and has improved dramatically on the defensive end of the court from past seasons. 

Baylor is surrendering just 60.8 points per contest and is allowing opponents to shoot just .349 from the field.  Among its recent wins were road decisions over Arizona State (64-61), Arkansas (70-47) and South Carolina (85-74).  Pretty impressive.  The addition of Michigan transfer Ekpe Udoh has been huge, as the junior big man is averaging 14.2 points (ranks 16th in Big 12), 11.5 rebounds (ranks first) and 4.5 blocked shots (ranks first).  He is coming off a triple-double on Wednesday, just the fifth in Baylor history.

If the 9-5 Sooners, who are 2-5 away from Norman this year, emerge victorious on Saturday, Jeff Capel's team would get a huge boost of confidence.  How often do you hear that about a team that's won 30 straight against an opponent? 

  Thursday, Jan. 7

Senior guard Tony Crocker is this week's video profile subject.  The 6-6, 209-pounder, who has played out of position for a good chunk of the season due to OU's four-guard lineup, has flourished statistically this year.  He is averaging 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game (both career highs), and is shooting a team-high .424 from 3-point range.  Crocker, who has started 80 consecutive games, has five double-doubles in the last eight contests (the only double-doubles of his career) and is averaging 15.9 points and 9.4 boards in those eight outings.  Click here to see Crocker talk about his time as a Sooner and how he spends his life away from basketball. 

  Monday, Jan. 4

OU men's hoops fans now have the opportunity for discounted tickets when they attend one of the first two home games of the new year (tonight vs. Maryland Eastern Shore and Jan. 11 vs. Oklahoma State). If the Sooners win, each person in attendance can redeem their tickets for the same number of discounted tickets to any future game (except Oklahoma State and Texas). Offer is good for advance purchases only. Tickets are limited to the number of tickets the customer had for the eligible game and are based upon availability.
Eligible Games: 
Jan. 4 vs. Maryland Eastern Shore
Jan. 11 vs. Oklahoma State
If the Sooners win one of the above eligible games, fans in attendance will be eligible to purchase as many tickets as they had for the eligible game at a special rate of $7 or $17 per ticket. The processing fee is included in this rate and no other fees will be applied.
Games Where Discounted Tickets Apply:
Jan. 16 vs. Missouri 
Jan. 27 vs. Iowa State 
Feb. 9 vs. Texas Tech
Feb. 20 vs. Kansas State
Feb. 27 vs. Baylor
March 6 vs. Texas A&M
Redeeming This Offer:
You may redeem this offer by calling the OU Athletics Ticket Office and giving your account information. If you do not have an account, you will need to present your used tickets from the eligible game to the OU Ticket Office in person. OU Ticket Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (405) 325-2424 or (800) 456-GoOU for more information.

In case you missed it, OU's all-decade team (voted on by fans) was revealed on SoonerSports.com on New Year's Day.  Blake Griffin and Hollis Price were runaway choices for the first team, appearing on 99 and 98 percent of the ballots, respectively.  Eduardo Najera (83 percent), Kevin Bookout (49 percent) and Aaron McGhee (33 percent) also made the first team.  To see more information on the first-teamers, and to find out who made the five-man second team, click here.

  Friday, Dec. 18

With just a couple weeks left in December, we thought it'd be a good time to announce fan voting for the OU Men's Basketball All-Decade Team.  First, a couple of notes and parameters.  1.) Nominees must have played a minimum of one season sometime between the 1999-2000 and 2008-09 campaigns (that does not include this season); 2.) The five-member team will be assembled without regard to player position (for example, it could feature five guards if the voting so dictates); 3.) Players who transferred to another school or were dismissed from the program are not eligible for the All-Decade Team.

To vote, submit your list of five (no more) players via email to OUalldecade@gmail.com.  Submissions must be received by Dec. 31 (11:59 p.m. CT) and the squad will be announced Jan. 1.  Feel free to add a comment for any or each of the players you nominate (not required).  Select fan comments could be included in the Jan. 1 release of the All-Decade Team right here on SoonerSports.com.

Having trouble remembering some of the standouts of the last 10 years?  Here's a list of every Sooner who averaged at least 7.0 points or at least 5.0 rebounds during at least one of the past 10 seasons (and meets the last paremeter above):

Kevin Bookout (2003-06)
Nate Carter (2006-07)
Tony Crocker (2007-2009)
Jason Detrick (2002, 2004)
Ebi Ere (2002-03)
Terrell Everett (2005-06)
David Godbold (2005-08)
Taj Gray (2005-06)
Blake Griffin (2008-09)
Taylor Griffin (2006-09)
Tim Heskett (2000)
Austin Johnson (2006-09)
Nolan Johnson (2000-01)
Longar Longar (2005-08)
Aaron McGhee (2001-02)
Eduardo Najera (2000)
Michael Neal (2006-07)
Kelley Newton (2000-01)
Hollis Price (2000-03)
Daryan Selvy (2001-02)
Willie Warren (2009)
Quannas White (2002-03)

Again, submit your list of five All-Decade Team members by emailing them to OUalldecade@gmail.com.

  Tuesday, Dec. 15

This week's video profile subject is Ryan Randolph, a freshman walk-on from Oklahoma City.  Randolph, a 6-4, 194-pound guard, was a three-sport star at Bishop McGuinness High School who won three state titles in basketball, one in football (as starting quarterback) and finished in third place in the state tennis tournament at No. 2 doubles as a senior.  A standout student, Randolph is double majoring in business entrepreneurship and pre-med at OU.  Learn even more about him by watching this interview.

  Thursday, Dec. 10

In case you missed it last night, Tony Crocker had one of the best halves in OU basketball history in the Sooners' 86-62 win over Centenary.  The senior guard scored the first 13 points of the game, netted the Sooners' first 16 points and racked up seven 3-pointers and 25 points in the game's first 11 minutes.  Crocker finished the first half with 29 points -- a Big 12 record for scoring in a half -- and 10 rebounds.  He finished the game with a career-high 33 points, 13 rebounds (his second highest career total), a career-high three blocked shots and two steals.  He was 11-for-19 from the field, 7-for-12 from behind the arc and 4-for-4 from the free throw line on the night.  Highlights can be viewed here.

  Saturday, Dec. 5

Members of the OU football team will sign autographs prior to Sunday's 6 p.m. men's basketball game against Arizona.  The autograph session will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Clinton Lounge (Lloyd Noble Center's upper concourse, east side).  Fans will be allowed to bring one item per person to be autographed (no larger than 10" x 10" x 10").  Tickets to Sunday's game are still available ($15, $30 and $45) and can be purchased online here.  Lloyd Noble Center's north and east ticket windows will open Sunday at 4 p.m. 

Heading into today, the Big 12 Conference holds a 4-1 lead in this year's Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series.  Nebraska opened with a 51-48 win at USC Nov. 29.  This past Thursday, Texas Tech posted a 99-92 overtime home win over Washington, Texas recorded a 69-50 home win over USC and Baylor edged Arizona State on the road by a 64-61 count.  Last night, Oregon State won at home over Colorado, 74-69. 

Today's Hardwood Series games include Oregon at Missouri (4 p.m. CT on ESPNU), Washington State at Kansas State (8 p.m. CT on ESPNU) and Iowa State at California (10 p.m. CT on ESPNU).  Besides Arizona at Oklahoma (6 p.m. CT on ESPNU), Sunday's slate features Kansas at UCLA (4:30 p.m. CT on FSN).  The final two games of the Hardwood Series will be played Dec. 16 (Oklahoma State at Stanford, 9 p.m. CT on FSN) and Dec. 22 (Texas A&M at Washington, 10 p.m. CT on FSN).

  Thursday, Dec. 3

SoonerSports.com unveiled its 2009-10 men's basketball video profile series today.  Each week throughout the season, we will feature a different student-athlete from the men's hoops team so fans can gain insight into players' lives both on and off the court.  The first subject is Steven Pledger, a freshman guard who, through seven games, is averaging 12.3 points and leads the team with 20 3-point makes.  Click here for the video profile.

  Tuesday, Dec. 1

OU head coach Jeff Capel took a couple minutes following practice today to discuss Wednesday's 7 p.m. home matchup against Arkansas.  Capel is particularly wary of Razorback sophomore Rotnei Clarke, who is averaging 26.7 points and shooting a gaudy .574 from behind the 3-point arc (35-for-61) through six games.  In Arkansas' season opener, Clarke nailed an SEC-record 13 treys and finished with a school-record 51 points.  Two games ago, the Verdigris, Okla., product hit 10 more 3-balls and scored 32 points.  Click here to watch Capel's scouting report.  For SoonerSports.com's full pre-game report, click here

  Friday, Nov. 27

We've got game highlights from Thursday's 100-93 loss to Houston in the second round of the Great Alaska Shootout, as well as Jeff Capel's postgame press conference.  Yesterday's defeat means OU will play in Saturday's fifth-place game against Nicholls State at 5 p.m. CST (2 p.m. AST).  Washington State will face San Diego in Saturday's title contest while Houston will meet Alaska Anchorage in the third-place game.  The Sooners had an off day today, and practiced at Bartlett High School in the afternoon.

Walking in downtown Anchorage following a late lunch today, team manager Landon Hughey and SoonerVision's Dan Cavanaugh were unexpectedly thrust into a festive and crowded holiday celebration.  The pair was corralled on the streets by Santa Claus to assist with a reindeer processional to a nearby plaza where hundreds of eager onlookers awaited their arrival.  Hughey and Cavanaugh were each asked to escort a reindeer, with Hughey assigned to "Dasher" and Cavanaugh assigned to "Dander" -- the 6-month-old sister of "Dancer."  The walk was not without its challenges.  Click here for video.

Check out more sights and sounds from Thursday and Friday in Anchorage.  SoonerVision's Dan Cavanaugh was behind the lens and gives viewers a small taste of OU life in Alaska.

  Thursday, Nov. 26

It's 1:30 p.m. Alaska time (4:30 p.m. Central) and the Sooners just wrapped up their hour-long shootaround as they prepare to face a Houston Cougars squad that is averaging 95.5 points a game.  Senior guard Aubrey Coleman has been a stat-sheet hero for UH, as he is averaging 32.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 4.0 steals per contest.  OU will look to rebound from yesterday's lackluster 76-64 loss to San Diego.  Highlights from the first-round contest can be viewed here, while Coach Capel's postgame press conference can be seen here.  Tipoff tonight is set for 10:30 p.m. CST.

  Tuesday, Nov. 24

It didn't get light until about 9:30 a.m., but the Sooners spent their first full day in Alaska Tuesday.  Included in the day's activities were a practice at Sullivan Arena (site of the Great Alaska Shootout), another practice at Bartlett High School, lunch at an Anchorage restaurant and a tournament banquet in the evening.  Check out the video clips below:

Video  Practice at Sullivan Arena
Video  Jeff Capel Interview
Video  Practice at Bartlett High School
Video  Noted Eater Beau Gerber at Lunch
Video  Alaska Scenery

  Monday, Nov. 23

It's 11:50 a.m. CST and the Sooners are in the Denver airport doing their best to manage a three-hour layover as they make their way to Anchorage, Alaska, for the Great Alaska Shootout (OU opens against San Diego on Wednesday).  The squad left Norman this morning at 6:30 and the journey is scheduled to take 14 hours.  Next stop...Seattle.

UPDATE: About 15 hours after departing from Norman, the Sooners finally arrived in Alaska and were greeted with 30-degree temps and a few inches of snow.  It's 12:15 a.m. CST and the squad is in the middle of practice at an Anchorage high school.  Here's a good sign: Steven Pledger and Willie Warren were just lighting it up from 3-point range during competitive 5-on-5 play.  The pair combined to go just 2-for-18 from behind the arc in Saturday's loss at VCU.  Look for trip video Tuesday.

In case you missed it, click here for coverage of Wayman Tisdale's induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.  Tisdale was inducted with seven others, including Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, in Kansas City, Mo.  OU's Joe Castiglione and Jeff Capel were in attendance.

  Sunday, Nov. 22
  Wayman Tisdale

A big night for the OU family in Kansas City, Mo., this evening as the late Wayman Tisdale will be inducted in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.  Tisdale, who is the Sooners' all-time leading scorer and rebounder despite turning pro after his junior season, will join Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Travis Grant, coaches Gene Bartow and Jud Heathcote and contributors Bill Wall and Walter Byers as inductees.

OU's Joe Castiglione and Jeff Capel will be in attendance at the Midland Theatre, as will former OU head coach Billy Tubbs, some of Tisdale's OU teammates and Tisdale's family.

Fans can listen to the event live on Sirius/XM Radio (Sirius 122 and XM 143) beginning at 8 p.m. CST.  ESPNU is scheduled to televise the ceremony Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. CST.

Tisdale passed away from cancer last May at the age of 44.

  Thursday, Nov. 19

In the mood for a laugh?  Check out this ESPN The Magazine video of Blake Griffin and the rookie hazing he's enduring this season as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.  It might be enough to make future early entrance candidates decide to stay in school for as long as possible.

  Wednesday, Nov. 18

We received some important television information tonight regarding the Sooners' upcoming games at VCU and the Great Alaska Shootout.  This Saturday's contest at VCU will be televised on the following Sooner Sports Network affiliates: KAUT Channel 43 and Cox Cable Channel 7 in Oklahoma City, Cox Cable Channel 3 in Tulsa, KXOK Channel 32 in Enid, KSWO Channel 7 in Lawton and Metro Sports in Kansas City.  A Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) production, the telecast is also scheduled to be available to DirecTV (640) and Dish Network (432) customers.

As for the Great Alaska Shootout, some more good news.  The University of Alaska Anchorage announced that the tournament's games will be produced and distributed to multiple national and regional television cable outlets.  Here's a partial list of OU coverage (for the complete list, click here):

Cox 3 (Tulsa) & Cox 7 (Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma vs. San Diego, Wed., Nov. 25, 12:45 a.m. CST (technically Nov. 26)
Houston vs. Oklahoma, Thurs., Nov. 26, 10:30 p.m. CST

Fox College Sports (National)
Oklahoma vs. San Diego, Wed., Nov. 25, 12:45 a.m. CST (technically Nov. 26)
Houston vs. Oklahoma, Thurs., Nov. 26, 10:30 p.m. CST
Championship game, Sat., Nov. 28, 10 p.m. CST

DIRECTV Sports Pak (National)
All tournament games except Saturday's fifth-place contest

Dish Network Multi-Sport Pak (National)
All tournament games except Saturday's fifth-place contest

AT&T U-Verse (National)
Championship game, tape delayed at 9:30 a.m. CST on Sun., Nov. 29

CSS (Houston & Southeast U.S.)
Houston vs Oklahoma, Thurs., Nov. 26, 10:30 p.m.

Metro Sports (Kansas City)
All tournament games

  Tuesday, Nov. 17

In case you missed it on the front page of SoonerSports.com, the Athletics Ticket Office started its men's and women's basketball single-game tickets sale today.  Tickets became available for purchase online at 12:01 a.m. Phone orders began at 8 a.m. at (405) 325-2424 or toll free at (800) 456-GoOU. If supplies remain, walk-up sales at the ticket office begin at 10 a.m.  Click here for more info.

  Monday, Nov. 16

Click here to watch video of Jeff Capel's press conference following Saturday's 95-71 win over Mount St. Mary's in which four OU freshmen accounted for 64 points. 

The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy offered a nice writeup on sophomore Willie Warren Saturday night after OU's season-opening victory.  Began DeCourcy, "Oklahoma guard Willie Warren has long since established that those who labeled him as a selfish player while in high school had gotten it all wrong. But just in case there were any lingering doubts, he posted this stat line in the opening game of what should be an All-America season for him: 15 points, 11 assists. Yes, during the summer, Warren apparently went all Bobby Hurley on us." Click here to read the rest

  Thursday, Nov. 12
  Ryan Wright

Ryan Wright
is expected to start OU's 1 p.m. season opener Saturday against Mount St. Mary's.  If he does, it will mark just the sixth career start for the senior forward from Mississauga, Ontario.  Wright's basketball journey has been a long one and without a ton of playing time.  He began his collegiate career at UCLA and played on a pair of Final Four teams there, averaging less than eight minutes per game.  He transferred to OU, and, after sitting out the 2008-09 campaign, averaged eight minutes a contest last season behind National Player of the Year Blake Griffin.  Now, Wright knows it's his opportunity to shine.  The 6-9, 241-pounder, who graduated last year, sat down with OU Athletics Communications student intern Ally La Rocque yesterday to talk about a wide array of subjects, including growing up in Canada, his decision to leave UCLA, his adjustment to Norman, the demands of college basketball, the upcoming season and his future.  Here's the video.

  Wednesday, Nov. 11

Today is the first day of the early signing period, and the Sooners inked Denison (Texas) High School guard T.J. Taylor to a letter of intent this morning.  Click here to read all about Taylor, the nation's 71st-ranked recruit according to ESPN.com.

Sooner Sports Properties informed us today that OU's Nov. 21 game at VCU will be carried on television by the Sooner Sports Network.  The game, which is slated for a 6:30 p.m. CT tipoff, will air on Oklahoma City on KAUT Channel 43.  Other in-state network carriers are being determined.  The telecast will be a production of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN).

  Tuesday, Nov. 10

We're just four days from the start of what promises to be an exciting 2009-10 season and the OU Athletics Department has great group ticket packages available for as low as $10 per ticket.  Also back is the popular birthday package, which includes a ticket, T-shirt, hot dog and soda for everyone in the group.  Click here for more information.

We told you last week that The Sporting News has named Willie Warren as its preseason national player of the year.  Click here to see why college basketball reporter Mike DeCourcy and TSN went with the OU sophomore, and to see the publication's other preseason All-Americans.

Rivals.com today published its preseason list of the nation's top 25 Division I men's basketball head coaches and our very own Jeff Capel appears in the No. 16 slot.  The only Big 12 coach ranked higher than Capel is Kansas' Bill Self.  The list, which measures career achievement as well as a coach's most recent results, appears below:

1. Roy Williams, North Carolina
2. Tom Izzo, Michigan State
3. Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
4. Jim Calhoun, Connecticut
5. Ben Howland, UCLA
6. Bill Self, Kansas
7. Rick Pitino, Louisville
8. John Calipari, Kentucky
9. Jay Wright, Villanova
10. Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh
11. John Beilein, Michigan
12. Matt Painter, Purdue
13. Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
14. Mike Montgomery, California
15. Bo Ryan, Wisconsin
16. Jeff Capel, Oklahoma
17. Lorenzo Romar, Washington
18. Bruce Weber, Illinois
19. Sean Miller, Arizona
20. Rick Barnes, Texas
21. Billy Donovan, Florida
22. Tubby Smith, Minnesota
23. Thad Matta, Ohio State
24. Trent Johnson, LSU
25. Gary Williams, Maryland

  Monday, Nov. 9

Back on Sept. 18, senior forward and big-time music buff Beau Gerber revealed to us that his favorite band of all-time is AC/DC.  Well, the Australian rockers were in Oklahoma City last week and Gerber, an amateur guitarist, was in the fourth row to witness the show.  Read Gerber's concert review and see his photos here.

  Friday, Nov. 6

Quite the honor today for sophomore guard Willie Warren from The Sportings News, as he was named the magazine's preseason national player of the year.  Can the Sooners make it back-to-back national players of the year?  If so, they'd become the first team to do it since Duke in 2001 and 2002 with Shane Battier and Jason Williams, respectively.  Read about Warren here.

The Sporting News Today ran a Q&A with Jeff Capel in today's online issue.  Capel spoke with reporter Benson Taylor regarding OU's early practices, Willie Warren as a leader, the strength of the Big 12 and selling OU to recruits.  Read the interview here.

  Thursday, Nov. 5

OU's freshmen had quite an impact on Tuesday's 40-point exhibition win over British Columbia.  Steven Pledger (14 points), Tommy Mason-Griffin (12), Andrew Fitzgerald (10) and Tiny Gallon (10) each scored in double figures and combined for 46 of the team's 93 points.  The foursome went a collective 17-for-27 (.629) from the field and 8-for-12 (.667) from 3-point range.  Earlier today, each of the four commented on their first experience in an OU uniform and what each one needs to work on before the Nov. 14 regular season opener.  View the brief video clips below:

Video  Steven Pledger
Video  Tiny Gallon
Video  Tommy Mason-Griffin
Video  Andrew Fitzgerald

This week's issue of ESPN The Magazine serves as the publication's college basketball preview, and the Big 12 Conference received some major love.  The magazine ranks the Sooners No. 8 nationally -- one of the highest rankings we've seen for OU this year -- and has Kansas at No. 1 and Texas at No. 2.  Other ranked Big 12 teams include Missouri at No. 14 and Oklahoma State at No. 20.  Texas A&M came in at No. 27.  That's six teams in the top 27.  Pretty impressive.

About OU, the magazine writes: Jeff Capel's biggest recruit talent-wise, Blake Griffin, is gone.  But his biggest torso-wise is settling in just fine.  So far, Keith "Tiny" Gallon, a 6'9", 296-pound twinkle toes, has had no trouble keeping up with the little guys, soph scorer Willie Warren and frosh Tommy Mason-Griffin.  "All the freshmen can run," says senior G Tony Crocker.  "We have actually stayed on schedule with conditioning."  As long as Tiny looms large, the Sooners can dream huge."

Sirius XM Radio will air a one-hour Big 12 men's basketball preview show this weekend, complete with interviews from around the league captured at media day in Kansas City a couple of weeks ago.  Here's the schedule:

Sun., Nov 8: 8-9 a.m. CT - Sirius XM SportsNation (Sirius 122/XM 143)
Sat., Nov 7: 3-4 p.m. CT - Sirius XM SportsNation II (online and on iPhone)
Sun., Nov 8: 11 a.m.-noon CT - Sirius XM SportsNation II (online and on iPhone)

  Tuesday, Nov. 3

With yesterday's announcement that OU's Nov. 14 football game against Texas A&M will kick off at 6 p.m. CST, the athletics department announced today that the Sooners' men's basketball regular season opener that same day will tip at 1 p.m.  Jeff Capel's squad will take on a Mount St. Mary's team that is picked by Blue Ribbon Yearbook to win the Northeast Conference and that features preseason league player of the year Jeremy Goode.

It's game day and the players are geared up to play outside competition.  One Sooner expected to get the starting nod tonight is freshman McDonald's All-American point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin, a 5-11, 203-pounder from Houston, Texas.  Mason-Griffin brings many talents to OU's squad, and his long-range shot is definitely one of them.  Today's video is of a recent post-practice challenge in which TMG had 90 seconds to make 25 treys -- five from each of five spots around the arc.  How did he fare?  Watch here.

  Monday, Nov. 2

Hard to believe, but another season is upon us.  Seems like it was just a couple of months ago that Blake Griffin was hitting his head against the backboard against Syracuse in the Sweet 16.  Well, the 2008-09 campaign is in the history books and the Sooners start their 2009-10 season with a 7 p.m. exhibition game tomorrow against the University of British Columbia.

OU fans are anxious to see their new 15-man squad, with preseason All-American Willie Warren and fellow McDonald's All-Americans Tiny Gallon (all 290 pounds of him) and Tommy Mason-Griffin sure to get much of the attention.  But here's something else Sooner fans will want to watch.  At halftime of the game, the OU athletics department will show Toby Keith's new music video "Cryin' for Me (Wayman's Song)" on the high-definition scoreboard.  A tribute to Sooner great Wayman Tisdale, who died in May from cancer at the age of 44, the video premiered today (watch here). 

A three-time All-American at OU who holds school records for career scoring and rebounding despite going pro after his junior year, Tisdale also made his mark as a contemporary jazz bassist during and after his 12-year NBA career, recording eight albums.  His 2001 release, "Face to Face," climbed to No. 1 on Billboard Magazine's contemporary jazz chart.  Tisdale and Keith became good friends over the years and even collaborated musically.  Keith appeared on Tisdale's final album "Rebound" in 2008, handling lead vocals on the remake of Barry White's "Never Gonna Give You Up."

Tisdale will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame later this month, along with Larry Bird and Earvin "Magic" Johnson

OU is planning additional methods of honoring the beloved Tisdale this season. 

  Friday, Oct. 30

One day after the first ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll of the season ranked the Sooners 16th, the Associated Press top-25 poll slotted OU in the 17 spot.  Here's the AP poll (first-place votes in parentheses):

1.  Kansas (55) - 1,612 points
2.  Michigan State (5) - 1,515
3.  Texas (1) - 1,397
4.  Kentucky (3) - 1,372
5.  Villanova - 1,347
6.  North Carolina (1) - 1,320
7.  Purdue - 1,284
8.  West Virginia - 1,115
9.  Duke - 1,064
10.  Tennessee - 897
11.  Butler - 864
12.  Connecticut - 844
13.  California - 800
14.  Washington - 776
15.  Michigan - 578
16.  Ohio State - 465
17.  Oklahoma - 410
18.  Mississippi State - 393
19.  Louisville - 335
20.  Georgetown - 326
21.  Dayton - 318
22.  Georgia Tech - 301
23.  Illinois - 282
24.  Clemson - 217
25.  Minnesota - 172

  Thursday, Oct. 29

Head coach Jeff Capel held a 25-minute media conference and then OU players answered questions one-on-one for 35 minutes this afternoon at the team's local media day.  We've got the afternoon covered in detail right here.  Below are some quick links to individual player interviews.

Video  Tony Crocker
Video  Beau Gerber
Video  Cade Davis
Video  Willie Warren
Video  Ray Willis
Video  Andrew Fitzgerald
Video  Tiny Gallon
Video  Tommy Mason-Griffin
Video  Steven Pledger 

In case you missed the press releases here on SoonerSports.com, be sure to read about OU's season ticket mini packages now on sale, as well as the Sooners' No. 16 ranking in the initial ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll.

  Wednesday, Oct. 28

Freshman Tiny Gallon, who stands 6-9 and weighs about 290 pounds, is not bashful when it comes to shooting the basketball.  And his range is not limited to the paint area.  In fact, last year while playing for Oak Hill Academy, Gallon, who then weighed more than 300 pounds, hit six 3-pointers on nine attempts in a 63-58 comeback win against South Atlanta High School in the Spalding Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.  South Atlanta High was led by fellow McDonald's All-American Derrick Favors, who's now a freshman at Georgia Tech. 

Following a recent practice, Gallon went on camera to recount that contest and demonstrate his ability to hit the long-range shot.  He also engaged in a friendly verbal war with fellow big man Orlando Allen.  Check out the video here.  To see highlights from the Oak Hill/South Atlanta game, click here.

  Monday, Oct. 26
  Willie Warren

Willie Warren
, last season's unanimous choice as Big 12 Freshman of the Year, was the Sooners' most potent 2008-09 backcourt performer.  He averaged 14.6 points and 3.1 assists per game as a sidekick to National Player of the Year Blake Griffin, helping OU to a 30-6 record and to within one game of the Final Four.  Warren was named Big 12 Rookie of the Week seven times (one shy of the league record) and set OU freshman standards for 3-pointers (67) and games started (34).

Now a sophomore, the 6-4, 203-pound Warren is considered by many "experts" as the country's best shooting guard and is a National Player of the Year candidate himself.  We sat down with Warren following OU's Saturday morning practice to ask him a variety of questions.  Watch the interview to see him converse about, among other topics, his widely publicized encounter with Kobe Bryant, freshman teammate Andrew Fitzgerald, his tattoos and why he picked jersey No. 13 (we also threw in some of his highlights from the morning workout).  Warren also issued a respectable prediction for OU's football game at Kansas that took place later that day.

Speaking of Warren, SLAM magazine's Joey Whelan just emailed me the link to a feature story posted this afternoon about OU's sophomore standout.  It's a nice read and draws parallels between Willie and Griffin.  Check it out.  Not trying to jinx anything, but if Warren does go on to win a Naismith or Wooden Award this season, OU would become the first school since Duke in 2001 (Shane Battier) and 2002 (Jason Williams) to have guys be named National Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons.

  Thursday, Oct. 22

Jeff Capel
has mentioned on numerous occasions over the past couple of weeks that rebounding is his biggest concern entering the 2009-10 season.  Considering the Sooners lost the country's best rebounder (Blake Griffin averaged 14.4 in 2008-09) and return just 29 percent of their rebounding from last year, it's an understandable worry.  So how does Capel approach finding a solution?  The answer is the Bubble Drill -- a practice exercise where the squad splits up into three four-man teams, battling for missed shots that carom off the plastic lid placed on the basket.  It's no holds barred and it's physical.  When it's over, the winning team watches the two losing teams run.  Here's video from Wednesday's Bubble Drill session.

Capel, sophomore guard Willie Warren and senior forward Ryan Wright were at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., today, site of Big 12 Media Day.  Click here for several video clips of OU's interview sessions and for a transcript of Capel's press conference.  Thanks goes to Jared Thompson, OU's women's basketball communications director, for collecting and posting material from today's event.

  Wednesday, Oct. 21

The SoonerVision staff and nine students from OU's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication were in the men's practice gym Tuesday night to shoot all 15 players for this year's pre-game intro video.  Here's a brief behind-the-scenes look.  Be sure to watch Tiny Gallon ham it up near the end.

OU will hold its annual "Meet, Greet and Eat With the Sooners" this coming Monday, Oct. 26.  A $50 ticket allows fans to watch the final hour of that day's practice (4:30-5:30 p.m.) and then eat dinner (6 p.m.) with the players and coaching staff on the floor of the practice gym.  Call (405) 325-4732 to reserve your spot.  Limited space remains.  All proceeds go to the OU Tip In Club to support the men's basketball program.

  Tuesday, Oct. 20

The 2009-10 media guide is available online.  The 208-page publication, produced in-house by the OU Athletics Communications office, contains just about everything you need to know in preparation for the 103rd season of Sooner hoops.  The cover features seniors Tony Crocker, Beau Gerber and Ryan Wright, and sophomore preseason All-American Willie Warren.

The Sooners boast a school-record three McDonald's All-Americans on this year's roster (sophomore Willie Warren and freshmen Tiny Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin).  Our office conducted research to see where that number ranks nationally and the answer is fourth.  Only North Carolina (seven), Duke (six) and Villanova (five) have more McDonald's All-Americans on their current roster than OU's three.  Here's the list of schools with at least two for 2009-10:

7 - North Carolina
6 - Duke
5 - Villanova
3 - Oklahoma
3 - Georgetown
3 - Georgia Tech
3 - Kansas
2 - Connecticut
2 - Florida State
2 - Kentucky
2 - Louisville
2 - Texas
2 - UCLA

Schools with one McDonald's All-American on their current roster include Alabama, Arizona State, Baylor, Cincinnati, Clemson, Kansas State, Memphis, Mississippi State, Nevada, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Tennessee, Virginia, Wake Forest and Washington.

In just his fourth year as the Sooners' head coach, Jeff Capel is responsible for attracting four of OU's eight McDonald's All-Americans in school history.  Last season's national player of the year, Blake Griffin is the other.




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