Oct. 13, 2002
NORMAN, Okla. - While the University of Oklahoma football team was beating rival Texas in the annual Red River Shootout in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, the OU men's basketball team rested in between a pair of practices in Norman, the squad's first two of the new season. Head coach Kelvin Sampson's Sooners worked out late Saturday morning and again Saturday evening before taking part in a third practice on Sunday afternoon.
"It was a typical first weekend of practice," commented Sampson Sunday. "The new guys were wide-eyed and the experience was a little overwhelming for them. Fortunately, we have great player leadership and our captains (seniors Ebi Ere, Hollis Price and Quannas White) did a super job of getting everyone through the first two days."
The Sooners focused on drill work during the early portions of each practice, including ball handling, passing, shooting and full-court layup routines. Emphasis was also placed on defense with positioning, rebounding and transition drills filling much of the practice schedule.
"Right now, I'm only concerned about fundamentals," added Sampson, the 2002 NABC and Chevrolet national coach of the year. "There's a lot of teaching taking place and this team's got a long way to go. But our kids have great attitudes and it was a successful first weekend."
The ninth-year OU coach said he was pleased with the play of true freshmen De'Angelo Alexander, Kevin Bookout and Larry Turner, saying, "Bookout and Alexander are going to be good players at OU for a long, long time. And Turner is coming around. Our freshmen are good players and I like them a lot."
Sampson also singled out 6-9 redshirt freshman forward Matt Gipson as the surprise of the weekend.
Three Sooners were held out of practice due to injuries. Senior Jason Detrick and sophomores Johnnie Gilbert and Blake Johnston attended the workouts but did not participate in a full capacity. Sampson said all three should be back in action soon.
Also, Sampson announced the dismissal of sophomore guard Rashaad Carruth from the team. Carruth joined the Sooners this past summer after transferring from the University of Kentucky where he averaged 5.5 points in 26 games last year.
"The foundation of our program has always been discipline," said Sampson. "Rashaad Carruth broke a team rule. There's no point in setting rules if those rules are not enforced. We all wish Rashaad the best in his future and we hope he achieves success."
Carruth, a 6-3, 195-pound native of College Park, Ga., was a McDonald's All-American at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy in 2000-01. He would have sat out the 2002-03 season at Oklahoma due to NCAA transfer rules.