Feb. 29, 2000
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NORMAN, Okla. - Ranked 20th in ESPN/USA Today poll and 21st in the AP version, Oklahoma (22-5 overall, 10-4 Big 12) travels to face Texas A&M (12-13, 3-11) Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Reed Arena in College Station. 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 not be televised.
The Sooners won their second straight game and eighth in their last 10 outings when they easily disposed of Missouri Saturday night, 83-56, in the team's final home contest of the year. Seniors Victor Avila, Eduardo Najera, Oleg Reztsov and Renzi Stone all started and played for the last time at Lloyd Noble Center. It was Reztsov's first career start.
All-America candidate Najera scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the year. The senior ranks third in the Big 12 in scoring (18.8 ppg), second in rebounding (9.6 rpg) and eighth in steals (1.7 spg). In league games, he is averaging 18.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.9 steals. He is one of only two Sooners in school history (Ryan Minor is the other) to rank in the top 10 in career points (ninth), rebounds (fifth), steals (fifth) and blocked shots (sixth).
Junior college transfer Nolan Johnson has scored in double figures in eight straight games and is averaging 12.6 points and 6.9 rebounds during the stretch (he is averaging 8.9 points and 5.0 boards per game on the season). The guard, who had posted a .500-or-better field goal percentage in eight consecutive contests before Saturday when he was 4-for-10, is shooting .565 from the field on the year and ranks second in Big 12 games with a .620 mark.
True freshman Hollis Price has also elevated his play recently. Price, who has 86 assists and just 36 turnovers on the season (2.4 ratio), has led the team in assists in five of the last six games (5.7 average during the six-game stretch). He scored a career-high 20 points two games ago against Texas Tech.
About Texas A&M
After starting the Big 12 campaign with a 2-3 record, Texas A&M has lost eight of nine games since, including its last four. The team's lone win during the nine-game stretch was a 74-69 home decision over Colorado on Feb. 11.
Freshman guard Bernard King, the Aggies' leading scorer in 14 of their 25 games, paces the squad by averaging 16.9 points and 4.0 assists per outing. He has made 72 three-pointers on the year on 205 attempts (.351) and also averages 1.6 steals. Freshman backcourt mate Jamaal Gilchrist, who has started all 25 games alongside King, ranks second on the squad in scoring (9.4 ppg) and assists (3.9 apg), and leads in steals (2.0 spg). Senior forward Aaron Jack, a Jenks High School teammate of OU's Renzi Stone in Tulsa, averages a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game and is shooting .625 from the floor. Jack, son of former Sooner Bobby Jack, did not play Saturday versus Texas after passing out at halftime of last Wednesday's game at Kansas State. He was treated at a Manhattan hospital for severe dehydration.
In his second year as the Aggies' head coach, Melvin Watkins has posted a 19-33 (.365) record. Last season he guided his squad to 12-15 overall and 5-11 league marks. The former UNC Charlotte mentor is in his fourth year as a collegiate head coach and owns a 61-53 (.535) career record.
OKLAHOMA PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||21||Eduardo Najera (6-8, 240, Sr.)||18.8||9.6||2.1|
|C||33||Renzi Stone (6-10, 250, Sr.)||4.8||3.9||1.4|
|G||5||Nolan Johnson (6-4, 215, Jr.)||8.9||5.0||1.6|
|G||10||Hollis Price (6-1, 165, Fr.)||6.1||1.9||3.2|
|G||11||J.R. Raymond (6-2, 175, So.)||15.0||3.7||3.8|
TEXAS A&M PROBABLE STARTERS
|F||14||Tomas Ress (6-9, 207, Fr.)||4.6||2.2||0.8|
|F||52||Jerald Brown (6-7, 224, Sr.)||5.1||3.2||0.6|
|C||44||Andy Slocum (6-11, 252, Fr.)||5.1||3.2||0.4|
|G||4||Jamaal Gilchrist (5-10, 182, Fr.)||9.4||3.9||3.9|
|G||32||Bernard King (6-3, 182, Fr.)||16.9||4.7||4.0|
Series with Texas A&M
Oklahoma owns a 12-1 all-times series advantage over Texas A&M with the lone loss coming last year in College Station, 74-72, on a last-second basket by Jerald Brown. The Sooners are 3-1 in College Station. Kelvin Sampson boasts a 6-1 mark against the Aggies as OU head coach.
Earlier this season in Norman, OU opened its Big 12 season with an impressive 78-53 triumph on Jan. 8. Kelley Newton canned 6-of-7 field goal attempts and was 5-for-6 from three-point range en route to a game and career-high 19-point performance. Newton also contributed two assists and a career-high four steals in 24 minutes off the bench. The Sooners held the Aggies scoreless for the first 4:36 of the game and led 47-29 at halftime before going up by as many as 31 after the break. Eduardo Najera contributed 14 points, three assists and three steals for the Sooners while J.R. Raymond scored 13 points and handed out a career-high eight assists. Jameel Heywood scored eight points and pulled down a career-best 12 rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. OU, which recorded a season-high 15 steals, limited Texas A&M to .370 field goal and .231 three-point shooting.
Oklahoma/Texas A&M Statistical Comparison
|61.9||Opponent Points Average||74.2|
|33.1||Opponent Rebounding Average||35.4|
|.460||Field Goal Percentage||.410|
|.408||Opponent Field Goal Percentage||.458|
|.325||Opponent 3-Pt. Percentage||.387|
|.701||Free Throw Percentage||.662|
|18.6||Personal Fouls Average||19.0|
|2.7||Blocked Shots Average||1.9|
Recapping the Missouri Contest
In its final home game of the season, OU scored the first 11 points and cruised to an 83-56 victory over Missouri on Saturday in front of a national ESPN audience and Lloyd Noble Center crowd of 12,644. Eduardo Najera scored 25 points, 20 after halftime, and pulled down 10 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the year. The preseason All-American also canned a season-high three three-pointers on six attempts. J.R. Raymond was 6-for-10 from beyond the arc and finished with 20 points while Nolan Johnson's 12 points gave him his eighth straight double-digit performance. Hollis Price recorded a career-high nine assists and committed just one turnover. The Sooners held Missouri to .322 field goal shooting and just a .130 mark from long range. The Tigers entered the game averaging a Big 12-high 9.6 three-pointers per outing but were just 3-for-23 from beyond the arc. OU outrebounded Missouri by a 45-39 count and registered 18 assists to the Tigers' five. MU fell to 16-10 overall and 9-5 in the conference.
Oklahoma winds up its regular season at Oklahoma State Saturday at 8 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN.
Sampson Earns No. 300
Head Coach Kelvin Sampson pocketed his 300th career victory last Wednesday when OU beat Texas Tech. Sampson, who is in his 17th year as a collegiate head coach, owns a 301-208 (.591) career record and is 125-60 (.676) in his sixth campaign at Oklahoma.
Shooting Tells the Story
Oklahoma is shooting .460 from the field this season (ranks fifth in Big 12), .394 from three-point land (first) and .701 from the free throw line (third). The Sooners are shooting significantly better in their wins than in their losses:
|Category||22 Wins||5 Losses|
|Field Goal Percentage||.479 (622-1,299)||.379 (118-311)|
|3-Point Percentage||.411 (186-453)||.324 (36-111)|
|Free Throw Percentage||.723 (297-411)||.598 (52-87)|
OU's Big 12 History
The Sooners now boast a 41-21 (.661) 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 a 17-13 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 (18.4 ppg), leads the league in rebounding (10.6 rpg) and ranks fifth in steals (1.9 spg).
- Boasts a league-best eight double-doubles in conference action.
- Has 13 double-doubles this year and has recorded seven in the last 11 games.
- Ranks third in the Big 12 (all games) in scoring (18.8 ppg), second in rebounding (9.6 rpg) and eighth in steals (1.7 spg). He is the only player to rank in the top 10 in all three categories.
- Averaging 36.4 minutes over the last 12 games.
- Has scored in double figures in 26 of 27 games this year.
- Has led the team in scoring and rebounding in the same game 10 times.
- Has recorded three or more assists nine times this season and three or more steals on seven occasions.
- Has started in 59 consecutive games.
- Ranks ninth in career scoring at OU (1,529 points), fifth in rebounding (855), fifth in steals (180) 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 12.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in OU's last eight contests and has upped his season averages to 8.9 and 5.0, respectively. During the eight-game span, Johnson is also averaging 31.8 minutes per outing. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., he is shooting .797 from the free throw line this season and .565 from the field (.620 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 (15.0 ppg). He also averages 3.1 three-pointers per game (ranks second), leads the team in assists (3.8 apg) and is second in steals (1.4 spg). A starter in each game, he has made 83 three-pointers on 195 attempts (.426) 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 (.417), is shooting .410 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 (174) and ranks fifth in attempts (417). Terry Evans owns the school record with 259 career conversions.
This Price is Right
Freshman guard Hollis Price, who has started 13 of 14 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 last Wednesday and has totaled 15 points two other times in Big 12 play. On Saturday versus Missouri, he tallied a career-high nine assists while committing just one turnover. The New Orleans, La., native ranks second in the Big 12 in league games with a 2.8 assist/turnover ratio and has recorded three or more assists 13 times on the year (he has led OU in the category in five of the last six games). On the year, Price averages 3.2 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 has 12 multiple-steal games to his credit.
Sooner Guards Shooting .415 From Beyond Arc
Historically an excellent three-point shooting team under Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, Oklahoma has done nothing to jeopardize that label so far this season. Through 27 games, the Sooners have made 222-of-564 trey attempts for a Big 12-leading .394 mark. Sooner guards are shooting a stout .415 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 12.6 miscues per outing (Missouri ranks second with 13.5). The Sooners also own the second best assist/turnover ratio in the conference (1.2).
Heskett Dependable with the Ball
Tim Heskett, who averages 21.8 minutes per game, has committed just 14 turnovers this season. That's an average of one turnover every 42 minutes. The junior guard leads the Big 12 with a 2.9 assist/turnover ratio and also ranks eighth with 2.4 three-point makes per contest. Heskett averages 8.3 points per game to rank fourth on the team.
Another regular season win would give Oklahoma 23 for the year, its most prior to the postseason since the 1989-90 campaign when it also won 23 (finished 27-5).
Kelley Newton, who is shooting .402 from three-point range, has missed his last 14 long-range attempts. He was shooting .479 prior to the drought.
Oklahoma, which shot .500 or better just three times all of last season, has made at least half of its field goal attempts nine times this year.
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.
Nolan Johnson, who is shooting .565 on the season, ranks third in Big 12 games with a .620 mark (57-for-92). Renzi Stone is shooting .651 (28-for-43) in league play.
Eduardo Najera recorded a 0.7 assist/turnover ratio in non-conference play but sports a 1.2 ratio in Big 12 games.
Three players (Eduardo Najera, J.R. Raymond and Renzi Stone) have each started all 27 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 Saturday.
The Sooners are 19-0 when leading at halftime.
J.R. Raymond (83) and Tim Heskett (66) have combined to make a Big 12-leading 149 three-pointers on the year. The Kansas State duo of Galen Morrison (64) and Cortez Groves (63) ranks second in the Big 12 with 127 conversions.
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 .578 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.
Oklahoma has been outrebounded just six times in its 27 games and has committed more turnovers than its opponents in just three games.
Sixty-six of Tim Heskett's 70 field goal conversions (94 percent) have been three-pointers while 35 of Kelley Newton's 49 field goal makes (71 percent) have been treys. Newton's first 17 baskets this year were three-pointers.
The Sooners are averaging 8.2 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 125-60 (.676) 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 Monday, Feb. 28)
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)