March 3, 2000
PDf Formatted Notes
NORMAN, Okla. - Ranked 20th in the ESPN/USA Today poll and 21st in the AP version, Oklahoma (23-5 overall, 11-4 Big 12) travels to face Oklahoma State (23-4, 12-3, ranked 11th and 13th) in both teams' regular season finale Saturday at 8 p.m. at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater. The game will air on the Sooner Basketball Radio Network (flagship KOMA 1520 AM in Oklahoma City) with Bob Barry, Sr., (play-by-play) and Mark Mathew (analyst) calling the action. The contest will be televised nationally on ESPN. Ron Franklin (play-by-play) and Jon Sundvold (analyst) will announce.
The Sooners are coming off a 77-59 road win versus Texas A&M Wednesday and have been victorious in their last three games and in nine of their last 11. Oklahoma's 23 wins are its most in a regular season since the 1989-90 campaign when it finished regular-season play with 23 victories. That team finished the year 27-5.
All-America candidate Eduardo Najera leads Oklahoma, which stands in fourth place in the Big 12, in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocked shots. The senior recorded a 20-point, eight-rebound, five-assist, four-steal performance against the Aggies and ranks second in the league in scoring (18.9 ppg), second in rebounding (9.5 rpg) and seventh in steals (1.8 spg). He is the only player to rank in the top 10 in all three categories. In league games, he is averaging 18.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals. He and Ryan Minor are the only two Sooners in history to rank in the top 10 in career points (eighth), rebounds (fifth), steals (fifth) and blocked shots (sixth) at OU.
Junior college transfer Nolan Johnson had scored in double figures in eight straight games prior to his six-point effort at Texas A&M. He is averaging 11.9 points and 6.2 rebounds over the last nine games and is shooting .627 from the field over the last 10 contests. The guard has posted a .500-or-better field goal percentage in nine of the last 10 games and is shooting .566 from the field on the year.
True freshman Hollis Price has also elevated his play recently. He has 93 assists and just 38 turnovers this year (2.4 ratio) and has led the team in assists in six of the last seven games (5.9 average). In his last three outings, he is averaging 14.3 points, 6.7 assists, 3.0 steals and just 1.3 turnovers.
About Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State, a 96-60 winner over Colorado in Stillwater Wednesday, stands in a second-place tie with Texas, a game behind Iowa State. The Cowboys sport a perfect 14-0 home record this season and haven't lost at Gallagher-Iba Arena since Feb. 14 last year (73-68 versus Texas). The team's four losses this season have come versus LSU (63-53), at Texas A&M (64-59), at Texas (68-57) and at Iowa State (72-61).
Big 12 Player-of-the-Year candidate Desmond Mason averages a team-high 18.6 points per game (ranks third in conference) to go along with his 6.9 rebounds 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. The senior forward is shooting .525 from the field and .435 from three-point range. Senior guard Glendon Alexander averages 12.6 points per game and is followed by forward Brian Montonati (12.5 ppg) and guard Joe Adkins (10.5 ppg). Senior point guard Doug Gottlieb averages a gaudy 8.7 assists per outing.
Head coach Eddie Sutton has compiled a 225-92 (.710) record in nine-plus years at Oklahoma State. In his 30th year as a head coach, he holds a 655-256 (.719) career record.
OKLAHOMA PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||21||Eduardo Najera (6-8, 240, Sr.)||18.9||9.5||2.2|
|C||33||Renzi Stone (6-10, 250, Sr.)||4.8||3.9||1.5|
|G||5||Nolan Johnson (6-4, 215, Jr.)||8.8||4.9||1.6|
|G||10||Hollis Price (6-1, 165, Fr.)||6.4||2.0||3.3|
|G||11||J.R. Raymond (6-2, 175, So.)||14.9||3.6||3.9|
OKLAHOMA STATE PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||30||Brian Montonati (6-10, 220, Sr.)||12.5||7.7||1.6|
|F||34||Desmond Mason (6-5, 215, Sr.)||18.6||6.9||1.7|
|C||12||Fredrik Jonzen (6-10, 230, So.)||8.3||6.3||0.8|
|G||35||Joe Adkins (6-1, 190, Sr.)||10.5||3.4||4.4|
|G||44||Doug Gottlieb (6-1, 185, Sr.)||6.0||2.2||8.7|
Series with Oklahoma State Oklahoma owns a 113-82 all-time series record with Oklahoma State, but trails in games played in Stillwater, 52-38. The Sooners have dropped six of the last 10 in the series and six of the last seven at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Kelvin Sampson is 5-8 versus Oklahoma State as OU's head coach and is 1-4 in Stillwater.
Last year at OSU, Oklahoma led from start to finish and held the Cowboys to .283 field goal and .276 three-point shooting. Oklahoma State missed 17 of its first 19 field goal attempts and failed to produce a double-digit scorer. The Cowboys' 43 points were its fewest at home since 1969 and the fewest given up by OU on the road since 1959.
Earlier this season in Norman, it was Oklahoma State that never trailed in a 74-71 decision. OSU opened a 20-point first-half lead (41-21) before the Sooners cut the margin to 14 at halftime and 10 early in the second stanza. OU chipped away at the Cowboys' lead and pulled to within one with seven seconds left, but Brian Montonati iced the game by making both ends of a one-and-one. Eduardo Najera, held scoreless over the game's first 14 minutes, finished with 21 points and seven rebounds while Nolan Johnson contributed 15 points and eight boards. Oklahoma State's Joe Adkins tallied 21 points thanks to four three-pointers and a clutch two-pointer with 32 seconds on the game clock. The Cowboys made 10-of-22 (.455) three-pointers and 20-of-28 (.714) free throws. Oklahoma, which entered the game sporting a Big 12-best .714 free throw percentage, made just 5-of-13 foul shots for a season-low .385 mark.
Oklahoma/Oklahoma State Statistical Comparison
|61.8||Opponent Points Average||61.3|
|32.9||Opponent Rebounding Average||34.6|
|.463||Field Goal Percentage||.492|
|.411||Opponent Field Goal Percentage||.380|
|.328||Opponent 3-Pt. Percentage||.303|
|.699||Free Throw Percentage||.697|
|18.4||Personal Fouls Average||16.6|
|2.7||Blocked Shots Average||3.7|
Recapping the Texas A&M Contest
The Sooners won their 13th game in 14 all-time meetings with Texas A&M Wednesday in College Station by a comfortable 77-59 score. With the score tied at 13 early in the contest, Oklahoma went on a 13-0 run and maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way. OU led by as many as 22 and as few as 10 after halftime. Eduardo Najera, who scored 17 first-half points on 8-for-10 shooting, finished with game highs in points (20) and rebounds (eight), and added five assists and four steals. Hollis Price played one of his best all-around games of the season, scoring 15 points and producing seven assists and a career-high five steals. He committed just two turnovers in 38 minutes. J.R. Raymond contributed 13 points and six assists. Oklahoma shot .541 from the field and .450 from three-point land. The Sooners forced 20 Aggie turnovers while committing just 10 themselves. Bernard King led Texas A&M with 15 points and Aaron Jack came off the bench to score 14 and grab a team-high six boards.
Sowing the Seeds
With the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament right around the corner (March 9-12 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.), seeding is on everybody's mind. OU will earn a No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 or No. 5 seed (the top four seeds are rewarded with a first-round bye). Iowa State has wrapped up the top seed.
Shooting Tells the Story
Oklahoma is shooting .463 from the field this season (ranks fourth in Big 12), .396 from three-point land (first) and .699 from the free throw line (third). The Sooners are shooting significantly better in their wins than in their losses:
|Category||23 Wins||5 Losses|
|Field Goal Percentage||.482 (655-1360)||.379 (118-311)|
|3-Point Percentage||.412 (195-473)||.324 (36-111)|
|Free Throw Percentage||.720 (299-415)||.598 (52-87)|
Sooners Continue Road Success
Oklahoma sports a 17-8 (.680) record in its past 25 Big 12 road contests. The Sooners, who went 6-2 in conference road games last year, are 4-3 so far this season with wins over Baylor, Texas Tech, Nebraska and Texas A&M. The average margin of victory in those four wins is 13.0 points.
OU's Big 12 History
The Sooners now boast a 42-21 (.667) Big 12 record, second only to Kansas' 51-12 (.810) mark. OU finished 9-7 (fifth place) in 1996-97 and 11-5 (tied for second) in each of the last two years. Kelvin Sampson's Big 12 squads have posted a 24-8 league record at home and an 18-13 mark on the road.
Eduardo Najera: The Big 12's Best?
Is Eduardo Najera the best player in the Big 12 Conference? He has certainly made a case for himself...
- Ranks third in Big 12 games in scoring (18.5 ppg), leads the league in rebounding (10.4 rpg) and ranks fourth in steals (2.1 spg).
- Boasts eight double-doubles in 15 conference games.
- Has 13 double-doubles this year and has recorded seven in the last 12 games.
- Ranks third in the Big 12 (all games) in scoring (18.9 ppg), second in rebounding (9.5 rpg) and seventh in steals (1.8 spg). He is the only player to rank in the top 10 in all three categories.
- Averaging 36.4 minutes over the last 13 games.
- Has scored in double figures in 27 of 28 games this year.
- Has led the team in scoring and rebounding in the same game 11 times.
- Has recorded three or more assists 10 times this season and three or more steals on eight occasions.
- Has started in 60 consecutive games.
- Ranks eighth in career scoring at OU (1,549 points), fifth in rebounding (863), fifth in steals (184) and sixth in blocked shots (86). Only he and Ryan Minor rank in the school's all-time top 10 in the four categories.
- Was named Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournament MVP this year and was named to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team.
- Earned Big 12 Player-of-the-Week acclaim Dec. 14 and Feb. 7.
- Was featured in the Feb. 7 issue of ESPN The Magazine and the Jan. 24 issue of Sports Illustrated. He will also be featured on this Friday's 5 p.m. CST "SportsCenter" on ESPN.
- "Najera has solidified his position as a first-round pick. Scouts love his toughness and ability to get to the basket. He will be a pick and a favorite on any roster." - ESPN's Andy Katz
Najera Fourth In CBS' Wooden Award Watch
Eduardo Najera currently rates as the fourth-leading candidate to win the 2000 John R. Wooden Award, given to the nation's most outstanding player, according to CBS SportsLine (www.cbssportsline.com). He is the Big 12's highest rated player on the list.
|1. Kenyon Martin||Cincinnati|
|2. Troy Murphy||Notre Dame|
|3. Chris Carrawell||Duke|
|4. Eduardo Najera||Oklahoma|
|5. Marcus Fizer||Iowa State|
|6. Chris Mihm||Texas|
|7. Mateen Cleaves||Michigan State|
|8. Khalid El-Amin||Connecticut|
|9. Desmond Mason||Oklahoma State|
|10. Loren Woods||Arizona|
Johnson's Production Increases with Minutes
Guard Nolan Johnson, a junior college transfer who didn't play basketball last season because he was wrapping up academic requirements, has appeared as comfortable on the court over the last several games as he has all year. He is averaging 11.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in OU's last nine contests and has upped his season averages to 8.8 and 4.9, respectively. During the nine-game span, Johnson is also averaging 30.1 minutes per outing. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., he is shooting .797 from the free throw line this season and .566 from the field (.619 in Big 12 action).
Raymond Vies For Newcomer of the Year
Sophomore point guard J.R. Raymond, who sat out his freshman season as a partial qualifier, ranks 11th in the Big 12 in scoring (14.9 ppg). He also averages 3.1 three-pointers per game (ranks second), leads the team in assists (3.9 apg) and is third in steals (1.4 spg). A starter in each game, he has made 86 three-pointers on 203 attempts (.424) and has scored in double digits in all but five outings (scored nine three times).
In his collegiate debut versus Montana State Nov. 19 in Fairbanks, Alaska, Raymond made 9-of-16 field goal attempts, including 5-of-9 three-point tries, and finished with a game-high 29 points. He also contributed six rebounds and five assists in the 91-76 victory and went on to earn Top of the World Classic All-Tournament Team honors. Raymond's 29-point outburst is believed to be the second-highest scoring total by a Sooner in his collegiate debut. In 1972, center Alvan Adams scored 38 points and collected a school-record 28 rebounds against Indiana State in his first-ever game.
Raymond has also been named this year's Sooner Holiday Classic MVP and to the All-College Tournament all-tourney squad.
Junior Tim Heskett, OU's career leader in three-point percentage (.419), is shooting .416 from beyond the arc this season. Dave Sieger (.405) is the only other Sooner to ever post a career three-point mark above .400. Heskett, who set the single-season school record with a .473 three-point mark last year, ranks second on the OU career charts in three-point makes (177) and ranks fifth in attempts (422). Terry Evans owns the school record with 259 career conversions.
This Price is Right
Freshman guard Hollis Price, who has started 14 of 15 league games for OU, is developing into a steady player on both ends of the floor. Price scored a career-high 20 points versus Texas Tech Feb. 23 and has totaled 15 points three other times in Big 12 play, including Wednesday at Texas A&M. Against the Aggies, Price also contributed seven assists and five steals. In OU's last three games, all victories by at least 18 points, he is averaging 14.3 points, 6.7 assists and 3.0 steals while shooting .630 from the field.
The New Orleans, La., native is tied with Tim Heskett for the Big 12's best assist/turnover ratio in league games (2.9) and has recorded three or more assists 14 times on the year (he has led OU in the category in six of the last seven games). On the season, Price averages 3.3 assists per game. The last Sooner freshman to average more than 3.0 assists was Terry Evans (4.4) in 1989-90. Lightning quick, Price also averages 1.5 steals per outing and has 13 multiple-steal games to his credit.
Sooner Guards Shooting .417 From Beyond Arc
Historically an excellent three-point shooting team under Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, Oklahoma has done nothing to jeopardize that label this season. Through 28 games, the Sooners have made 231-of-584 trey attempts for a Big 12-leading .396 mark. Sooner guards are shooting a stout .417 on the year. Here's a look at the statistics of OU's four three-point shooting guards:
Turnovers Few and Far Between
OU, which has committed fewer turnovers than its opponents in all but three games, averages a Big 12-low 12.5 miscues per outing (Missouri ranks second with 13.4). The Sooners also own the second best assist/turnover ratio in the conference (1.3).
Heskett Dependable with the Ball
Tim Heskett, who averages 21.7 minutes per game, has committed just 15 turnovers this season. That's an average of one turnover every 41 minutes. The junior guard leads the Big 12 with a 2.9 assist/turnover ratio and also ranks eighth with 2.5 three-point makes per contest. Heskett averages 8.3 points per game to rank fourth on the team.
Kelley Newton, who is shooting .411 from three-point range, had missed 14 straight long-range attempts before going 2-for-3 from beyond the arc at Texas A&M.
Oklahoma, which shot .500 or better just three times all of last season, has made at least half of its field goal attempts 10 times this year.
Nolan Johnson, who is shooting .566 on the season, ranks third in Big 12 games with a .619 mark (60-for-97). Renzi Stone is shooting .652 (30-for-46) in league play.
Three players (Eduardo Najera, J.R. Raymond and Renzi Stone) have each started all 28 games. Hollis Price and Nolan Johnson started all 13 Big 12 contests prior to being replaced by seniors Victor Avila and Oleg Reztsov in the home finale last Saturday.
The Sooners are 20-0 when leading at halftime.
J.R. Raymond (86) and Tim Heskett (69) have combined to make a Big 12-leading 155 three-pointers on the year.
Sixty-nine of Tim Heskett's 73 field goal conversions (95 percent) have been three-pointers while 37 of Kelley Newton's 51 field goal makes (73 percent) have been treys. Newton's first 17 baskets this year were three-pointers.
Eduardo Najera leads the Sooners in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals, and ranks third in assists.
Renzi Stone, who has shot better than .500 from the field each of the past two seasons, sports a .581 mark this year. The senior has missed just one game during his career.
In five-plus years under Coach Sampson, the Sooners are 72-9 (.889)when scoring 80 or more points and are 58-2 (.967) when scoring at least 80 points at home.
Eduardo Najera recorded a 0.7 assist/turnover ratio in non-conference play but sports a 1.3 ratio in Big 12 games.
The Big 12 is one of two conferences that boast five teams (OU, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Texas) with 20 or more wins. The SEC also boasts five squads.
Oklahoma has been outrebounded just seven times in its 28 games and has committed more turnovers than its opponents in just three games.
The Sooners are averaging 8.3 three-point makes per game. Last season, OU set a school record with its 8.6 treys per outing.
OU Boasts Nation's Fourth-Longest Postseason Streak
Oklahoma has made 18 consecutive postseason appearances (14 NCAA and four NIT), the fourth-longest streak among Division I programs. Only North Carolina, Georgetown and Indiana own longer postseason streaks. The last time Oklahoma did not compete in the postseason was in 1980-81. The four longest current postseason streaks are as follows:
Model of Consistency
Oklahoma has registered a winning record in 22 of its last 23 seasons. No other Big 12 team can boast as many winning campaigns since the 1975-76 season as the Sooners. Entering the year, OU had posted a 504-232 (.685) record over the span.
Head Coach Kelvin Sampson
Now in his 17th year as a collegiate head coach, Kelvin Sampson is in his sixth year at the Oklahoma helm. He has averaged 20.6 wins per season at OU and is one of two Big 12 coaches - Kansas' Roy Williams is the other - to lead his team to the NCAA Tournament each of the last five seasons.
Sampson began his head coaching career in 1980 at Montana Tech when he was hired as the program's interim head coach. He recorded a 73-45 mark in four seasons and was inducted into the school's sports hall of fame two years ago.
In 1988, Sampson was named head coach at Washington State and compiled an even 103-103 record over seven years, including two 20-win campaigns.
Hired by Oklahoma on April 25, 1994, he has guided the Sooners to a 126-60 (.678) record and a 75-15 (.833) home mark. In 1997-98, OU finished tied for second place in the Big 12 Conference and played in the league's postseason tournament championship game. Last year, he directed OU to another second-place league finish and an NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance.
Sampson was named the 1995 national coach of the year by the Associated Press, the USBWA and Basketball Times.
Sampson year by Year
|1981-82||Montana Tech||7-20 (.259)|
|1982-83||Montana Tech||22-9 (.710)|
|1983-84||Montana Tech||22-7 (.759)|
|1984-85||Montana Tech||22-9 (.710)|
|1987-88||Washington State||13-16 (.448)|
|1988-89||Washington State||10-19 (.345)|
|1989-90||Washington State||7-22 (.241)|
|1990-91||Washington State||16-12 (.571)|
|1991-92||Washington State||22-11 (.667)|
|1992-93||Washington State||15-12 (.556)|
|1993-94||Washington State||20-11 (.645)|
Coach Sampson on Television
This season, Oklahoma basketball fans can catch Head Coach Kelvin Sampson on television twice a week with "Inside Sooner Basketball with Kelvin Sampson" and "Sooner Basketball 2000." The shows will give viewers an insider's look at the OU program and feature highlights, interviews and Coach Sampson's insights.
Inside Sooner Basketball with Kelvin Sampson
Hosted by veteran Oklahoma City television sports anchor Bill Teegins, "Inside Sooner Basketball with Kelvin Sampson" airs Fridays at 2:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest. The half-hour show can be seen in Oklahoma City on KWTV Channel 9 Saturdays at 11 a.m. and in Tulsa on TCI Cablevision Channel 9 Fridays at 6 p.m.
Sooner Basketball 2000
"Sooner Basketball 2000" is hosted by Steve Neumann, director of broadcasting at OU. The one-hour show airs in Oklahoma City Sundays at 7 p.m. on NewsNow 53 and later that night at 1:45 a.m. on KWTV Channel 9.
1999-00 Big 12 Standings
(Through Friday, March 3)
3MICHAEL CANO (6-1, 170, SO., GUARD)
5NOLAN JOHNSON (6-4, 215, JR., GUARD)
10HOLLIS PRICE (6-1, 165, FR., GUARD)
11J.R. RAYMOND (6-2, 175, SO., GUARD)
14TIM HESKETT (6-1, 185, JR., GUARD)
20KELLEY NEWTON (6-2, 190, JR., GUARD)
21EDUARDO NAJERA (6-8, 240, SR., FORWARD)
22OLEG REZTSOV (7-2, 230, SR., CENTER)
30JARRETT HART (6-3, 210, FR., GUARD)
32VICTOR AVILA (6-10, 255, SR., CENTER)
33RENZI STONE (6-10, 250, SR., FORWARD/CENTER)
34JAMEEL HEYWOOD (6-6, 220, JR., FORWARD)