He's Got Mail: Capel's Mailbag

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
NOVEMBER 02, 2006

Hello Sooners! Hard to believe it's November already. Hopefully a lot of you got to attend our first exhibition game on Tuesday night, or at least were able to watch it here on SoonerSports.com. I was pretty pleased overall with how we played for it being our first time under the Lloyd Noble Center lights. I saw a lot of good things from our young team, but at the same time we have a lot to work on. I hope you'll be with us every step of the way during what should prove to be a very fun year. Our next game is Sunday afternoon against Central Missouri.

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You guys are coming up with some excellent questions. Thanks! I've enjoyed the creativity some of you have shown and invite everyone to continue to make submissions throughout the season. Just CLICK HERE and you'll be on your way.

Now, let's open up the "Mailbag!"
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From: Brent G. (College Station, TX)

Question: Coach, I'd like to know how much new stuff you teach during the season in terms of plays and sets and so forth. Do you like to add a lot of new wrinkles as the season progresses or is that something that's dictated by how well the players are executing the stuff you've already implemented?

Answer: That's a great question, Brent. In the past, I've always added different things throughout the year. Teams do such a good job of scouting, they kind of know your stuff. And I've always been fine with teams knowing our stuff as long as we execute it. We've always added different wrinkles.  There may be something that I see from watching a team as we're getting ready to play them that we can exploit.  It could be the way they play defense, the way they play ball screens, the way they play little-to-big screens down low.  We may add things in practice based on what we've scouted.

With our team, I'm not sure if we'll be able to do that this year. That's something that we're trying to learn right now -- how quickly we can pick things up and learn things on the fly. I'll have a better idea and a clearer understanding with what we can do with that as the season progresses.

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From: Lee (Ocean Springs, MS)

Question: Welcome to the Sooner Nation, Coach. I have a 14-year-old who has aspirations of playing college basketball.  What, except for the obvious answer of school, should be the focus of a kid who is 14?

Answer: Really, Lee, I would say for your child to enjoy it and have fun. Really and truly work and try to master the fundamentals of the game. Sometimes you can't control how athletic you are. You can work to try to become quicker and faster and more athletic, but some people just aren't blessed with that. But if you're very fundamentally sound and you can shoot, there's a place for you somewhere.

More than anything, I would say to have fun. Your child is at the age right now where they should be taught to enjoy playing, to love playing and to play hard with each possession.

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From: Marcus Lewis (Greenville, MS)

Question: Coach, we are very proud to have you directing our program.  You are an excellent ambassador of the University.  How is your wife making the transition to Oklahoma? Is she settling in well? Will she eventually work there, or work on raising some little Capels?

Answer: Hi Marcus. My wife is enjoying her time in Norman. Obviously, the move and the transition are difficult like you mentioned. We're both east coast people and we've lived there our whole lives. She's had probably a little bit more experience of living afar because she left her family in North Carolina to go to law school in Connecticut. That's probably the most difficult part -- leaving our families. We were about three hours away from my parents and about two-and-a-half hours away from her parents.  So it was always just a car ride. That's a little bit different now.

But we're excited to be here. This is a great place. The people in Norman have been terrific and that's made it easier.

As far as her working, she's going to teach one class in OU's law school starting second semester. I know that's something she is really excited about. As far as raising little Capels, we have one on the way. We're expecting our first child towards the end of April. April 28th is the due date, so we're really excited about that.

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From: Jay See (River Falls, AL)

Question: Coach, I'm glad to see your responses show integrity. Our young players need to be taught like John Wooden taught. Will you try to teach them to show respect everywhere, integrity at all times and that patience is a virtue needed toward others?

Answer: Absolutely, Jay. I think our jobs as coaches, at least the way I look at it, is to also be a teacher. We're trying to mold young people's lives and trying to help them get better. I've always said my most important job is to help prepare these guys for when that ball stops bouncing -- and it stops bouncing for everyone who plays -- and to try to use the lessons from this game to help these guys become better people, better men. We want them to become leaders in our community, to prepare to be a father or a husband.

Coach Wooden did as good a job as anyone teaching that. I played for a guy, Coach K, who did a great job. Coach Dean Smith at North Carolina did a great job. A lot of coaches do a great job of using this game to teach those life lessons that I just mentioned. You can add a John Thompson in there or a John Chaney. That's why their players revere them so much -- they've used lessons from this game to teach those life lessons and help prepare men.

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From: Terri Hill (Houston, TX)

Question: I'd like to know if you're a morning person or a night owl. Do you watch TV late at night and if so what do you watch before you go to bed?

Answer: Thanks for writing, Terri. I'm a night owl. I don't like getting up early. The big reason for that is because I have a hard time going to sleep at night. If I go to bed at 1:30 or 2 o'clock, that's early for me. A lot of times when the season starts, I'm up watching tape. One of the things that I try not to do is bring my work home with me.  Well, I bring my work home with me but I try to take time when I get home and spend it with my wife, just me and her. Whether it's us having dinner together, going out together or just goofing around the house, I cherish that time.

One of the things that helps is that my wife goes to sleep early. So during the season, that's when I usually start watching tape -- around 10:30 or 11. Once the seasons starts, I really don't sleep that much.

As far as watching TV, I like watching "Blind Date" late at night. I think it comes on at 1 o'clock. Sometimes you can catch a good movie or a re-run of "Family Guy" or "South Park" or something like that. But I'm a huge "Blind Date" fan and I love those pop ups that come up on the screen. They're hilarious.

I have a media room upstairs in our new house where I usually watch film.  Sometimes I'll watch it in my bedroom. If my wife is sound asleep and knocked out, I can watch it in my bedroom. If she's up a little bit or is halfway asleep, then I usually go upstairs. I watch film with the lights on so I can take notes and jot things down.

I watch a lot of basketball when the season starts. If I'm not watching tape late at night I'm usually watching NBA games. I like to watch some friends of mine that are playing, or watch college games. I'll watch the west coast games late at night.

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From: Tara (Oklahoma City, OK)

Question: Hi Coach Capel...what's the best Christmas present you've ever received?

Answer: Wow, that's a tough question, Tara! Hmmm. I don't know. The best present I ever gave was to my wife and it will be three years ago this Christmas. I got her an English Bulldog.

The best gift I ever received, I'm not really sure. I've gotten a lot of really good stuff. When I was growing up, getting Jordans was always really exciting. Obviously, getting a bike was pretty cool. The best gift I ever received as a kid was my first basketball goal. It didn't happen on Christmas, but that was the best gift by far. I remember it. My dad and I went to K-Mart to pick it up and we got into a wreck in the rain on the way home. I still had him put up the goal when we got back and I was shooting in the rain.

If I had to pick a best Christmas gift, I'd probably go with the full-sized arcade game my wife got me last year. I had never seen anything like it. I mean, it's huge. I don't understand a lot of the games that are out these days. But this one has a ton of old games. I'm a huge Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga fan. This arcade game has both of those, and it also has games like Mr. Do!, Space Invaders, Centipede, Frogger and so forth. Plus, it has five or six total Pac-Man games -- the original, Ms. Pac-Man, Super Pac-Man, Junior Pac-Man and Pac-Man World. It's upstairs in our media room. That was a great gift!

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All right, everyone.  As always, thanks for checking in.  A reminder that we play our second and final exhibition game on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m. before we start the regular season Friday, Nov. 10, against Norfolk State at the LNC.  See you at the games!

Boomer Sooner,
Coach Capel



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