NORMAN, Okla. - Tony Crocker is only a freshman -- he just doesn't always play like one.
One of two Sooners to start all eight of Oklahoma's men's basketball games so far this year, he scored 15 points in only 19 minutes in the team's opener. He scored 18 in the next game. He netted 19 against Villanova last week. He scored nine points in the first half Saturday against Coppin State and finished with a career-high five assists.
The 6-5 guard, who grew up in Lawton, Okla., before moving to San Antonio, Texas, in middle school, is averaging 9.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steal while barely playing half of each game. He is shooting .517 from the field (the second highest mark among OU's regulars) and has made eight of his nine free throw attempts (.889).
Crocker, whose OU future looks ultra bright, recently participated in the following Q&A with SoonerSports.com.
How has the transition from high school, or prep school last year in your case, to college gone for you?
Crocker: "Going from my regular high school to my prep school, the only real difference was there were a lot of good players instead of a few good players. Everybody on my prep school team was good and just about every player is now at a major or mid-major college right now. So there was a lot of talent.
"As far as coming here, it's a lot different. You have to know how to play."
What are some of the differences and what are some of the things that maybe surprised you about Division I basketball?
Crocker: "Your footwork is key. You have to get that down. Dribbling, knowing how to pop out and cut right. Stuff like that. In high school, we ran plays but a lot of times you just go out there and pretty much do what you want, especially if you're a main guy. Then you get to this level and you have to run your plays right and do everything the correct way.
"When I first started working with our transition stuff, that was one of the most frustrating things for me. I kept messing up and we had to keep doing everything over and over. It really was frustrating."
How did you enjoy your year of prep school? What was that like?
Crocker: "We had about 70 students, so it wasn't very big. Sometimes it got boring. There was nowhere to go - we were in the middle of the mountains. You just had to make it with what you had.
"But I still talk to some of my teammates. I talk to one of them just about every day. I text some of the others, talk to them on the computer, call every once in a while. One of them goes to junior college here in Oklahoma."
What would you say are some of the strong points of your game?
Crocker: "Coming here, I was a scorer. I could play D, but basically I was good at putting the ball in the hole in different ways. That's probably one of the things that gave me my biggest advantage - being able to score."
In what areas would you like to see yourself improve?
Crocker: "My on-the-ball defense and staying down. I do a pretty decent job, but after a while when you get tired they start going past you a little bit. That's what I want to work on. The offensive stuff will come."
How's the school part of college going for you?
Crocker: "It's good. College goes by a lot quicker than high school. It seems like we just started our semester. I think that's because you're not always in class all day long. Like on Tuesdays, I only have one class. I like that. You don't have to be in class for six hours every day."
You've said before that you always wanted to go to OU. Why is that?
Crocker: "I grew up in Lawton, so we were always Oklahoma fans. My family never really cared for OSU, hated Texas. So even when we moved to San Antonio I would pull for Oklahoma and make friendly bets with people that OU was going to win.
"I was probably a fan of the football team first. But I used to hear a lot of OU's basketball games on the radio. I didn't really see them on television a lot. But when I used to live in Oklahoma I played all sports. Everyone thought I was going to be a football player at OU."
Did you think you might be a football player?
Crocker: "I thought about playing until I got to high school. In San Antonio, in order to play a sport you had to be in that class period. I didn't want to be in the class period of football. I wanted to be in basketball. So I just stopped playing football then. I was a pretty good. I was a receiver, but most schools don't pass enough for me to want to play."
Describe your typical night. What do you do after practice?
Crocker: "First I go get me something to eat from the cafeteria. If I need to go to study hall I'll go there for about an hour. Then I might go back to the room and watch TV or play video games. I might go down to the lobby area of the Bud (Wilkinson dorms) and play pool or get on the Internet. That's about it."
What TV shows do you watch?
Crocker: "I'll just leave it on BET or SportsCenter or something like that."
What video games do you like to play?
Crocker: "I just got the Xbox 360 so I've just been playing the 'College Hoops 2K7' game. I play against Longar (Longar) and Keith (Clark). I've played Longar twice and we've each won once. I beat Keith every time."
You're playing on a young team with a new staff and a new system. What's your assessment of the season so far?
Crocker: "We're going to be all right. Sometimes it seems that when we get into the games, we don't do things the right way. We work on stuff during practice but then we have the ups and downs during the games. That's why we've lost a couple. But we just have to keep working at getting better."
You had 19 points against Villanova, 18 in another game and 15 in another. Can you describe what you're feeling on those kinds of nights?
Crocker: "I don't know. When you're on, you're on. It makes you want to keep playing hard. Even when you're off you have to keep going hard, but when you're on it gives you that confidence to want to help out the team even more."
What do you want for Christmas?
Crocker: "A car."
Any particular kind of car?
Crocker: "I don't want anything too big or too small. I don't really care for a big truck or anything. I'll take a nice sized car that gives me a little room."
So how do you get around town right now?
Crocker: "I just get rides from teammates or friends. That gets old after a while. Sometimes you just want to go get something to eat or something when you want to go. You don't want to have to call somebody or wait on them."