April 16, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. -- University of Oklahoma head men's basketball coach Lon Kruger announced the signing of Gonzaga transfer Ryan Spangler and junior college recruit D.J. Bennett today. Spangler and Bennett will join the Sooners starting with the 2012-13 school year.
"They're two quality individuals who have great passion to be at the University of Oklahoma," said Kruger. "It's always a priority to have people in the program who really want to be here."
From nearby Blanchard, Okla., Spangler is a 6-8, 232-pound forward who played this past season as a freshman at Gonzaga University. He averaged 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds in 6.6 minutes per game for the 26-7 Bulldogs. He shot .561 from the field in his 22 outings and led the squad in rebounds per minute (0.36).
Spangler recorded season highs of 12 points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes of play against Longwood on Feb. 27, and logged an 11-point, 5-rebound outing against Portland on Dec. 28. In a second-round NCAA Tournament win over West Virginia, he played 21 minutes and contributed four points and a team-high eight boards.
Spangler averaged 29.2 points, 17.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game as a senior for Class 4A Bridge Creek High School while also shooting .714 from the field. He was named the Oklahoma Gatorade Player of the Year and was a Parade All-American. As a junior, he averaged 26.4 points and 18.2 rebounds per contest. He led the state in scoring and rebounding both seasons. Spangler also quarterbacked the Bridge Creek football team his sophomore through senior seasons, racking up 71 touchdowns against 20 interceptions and compiling a 60-percent completion rate.
"It's always extra special to have in-state guys as part of the OU program," said Kruger, "and although Ryan enjoyed his time at Gonzaga we're especially pleased that he's returning home to be a Sooner. He's a very natural rebounder, a tough guy on the boards and has an ability to score inside and outside. Ryan's work ethic will allow him to make great strides during his redshirt season."
Bennett is a 6-8, 215-pound forward at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa. The sophomore averaged 9.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting .690 from the field this past season. He helped Indian Hills to a 33-4 record and a seventh-place finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., last month.
Bennett, who attended Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Ill., has a 7-foot-5 wingspan according to Indian Hills head coach Barret Peery.
"D.J.'s a fantastic athlete," said Peery. "Activity is his best asset. He can really run, he can really get on the rim and can rebound and block shots with his activity, his length and his bounce. He can score around the rim and can face up and shoot that mid-range shot from the elbows (of the lane) and the short corners. And he's a pretty clean free throw shooter.
"The second half of the season he was just fantastic, especially the last eight games or so when he averaged about 15 points and nine rebounds. He really had some good stretches."
Said Kruger, "We're very happy D.J. has chosen to be a Sooner. He brings high energy, shot-blocking ability and rebounding skills. He also has the potential to be more of a scorer in the low post than he has been."
The signing of Spangler and Bennett finalizes OU's class of newcomers for next season. The pair joins four high school signees: guards Isaiah Cousins, Buddy Hield and Jelon Hornbeak, and forward C.J. Cole.