Oct. 26, 2010

 
   

NORMAN, Okla. -- Exactly one week before playing its lone exhibition game, Jeff Capel's OU men's basketball team held its annual local media day at Lloyd Noble Center Tuesday. Capel, in his fifth year in Norman, addressed the media for more than 20 minutes (video in the player to the right) before team members answered reporters' questions.

The Sooners open the 2010-11 season with a home exhibition contest on Tuesday, Nov. 2 against Northern State at 7 p.m. CT. The OU roster features nine players new to the program, and while Capel said his team has had its ups and downs in a week-and-a-half worth of practices, one thing that's been a constant is work ethic.

"Our guys are being very consistent with how hard they work, their attitudes and their willingness to listen and learn and try to improve each day, and that’s the first step to becoming a better team," said Capel. "To have an attitude in which you want to learn and in which you want to be better, these guys have been the epitome of that."

Below are eight player interview clips, as well as some of Capel's media conference quotes.

  Player Interview Clips

Video Senior Guard Cade Davis
Video Junior Guard T.J. Franklin
Video Junior Forward Nick Thompson
Video Junior Forward C.J. Washington
Video Sophomore Forward Andrew Fitzgerald
Video Sophomore Guard Steven Pledger
Video Freshman Guard/Forward Cameron Clark
Video Freshman Forward Tyler Neal

  Select Jeff Capel Media Conference Quotes

Opening comment:
"We are very excited about our season; we are about 10 or 11 practices in so far. It's been typical of a young team, a team where we have a lot of new guys. We have really bright spots sometimes, and sometimes it looks like we have no idea what we're doing. But our guys are being very consistent with how hard they work, their attitudes and their willingness to listen and learn and try to improve each day, and that's the first step to becoming a better team. To have an attitude in which you want to learn and in which you want to be better, these guys have been the epitome of that. We have eight new guys playing for us; we have one senior and two of the guys returning that will play significant minutes for us are sophomores. So there is going to be a growing curve for us, but we are excited about that process of getting better. Our goal is to try to get better each day and try to improve as a basketball team each day."

On the difficulties that accompany a team that has nine newcomers:
"Everything is different for them, even the junior college guys. College is different when you come to a four-year institution. So for those guys, pretty much learning how to work, learning how to be a part of something, the speed of everything is different. And just getting acclimated to college life is very different. For the high school guys and the college guys, when they come from a situation where they probably didn't have study hall or a lot of tutors or a lot of different things like that, to now where all our new guys have those things.

"So now as we have gotten to the season, as far as practice is concerned, the thing is getting them to understand how to manage their time better and all of their responsibilities. If we're talking about strictly basketball, it's just the structure of everything, how long practices are and how hard practices are.

"We have had to go a little slower than I am accustomed to because we are spending so much time teaching everything and having to break everything down. We want to be good at things before we move onto something else.

"This is the first time I have had a team with so many new guys and is it is different. But again, it has been great because our guys have had great attitudes and have worked every day. We don't have good practices every day but I think the intent to have a good practice has been there."

On the team offensively:
"I feel like we have guys that can score. We don't necessarily have a guy that's going to create offense off the bounce. But one of the things that we have to do is we are going to really have to screen, cut hard, and really execute. Those are the things we have talked about to our team and really tried to do every day since we started to work out as a team. But most importantly on offense is going to be screening, valuing the basketball and making sure we get a good shot off the top."

On senior Cade Davis' role:
"He has some really, really good games and has had some really good moments for us during his career here. One of the things we don't want to do is overpressure Cade. It's not just his team. It is our team; it is the rest of the guys' team. He certainly has to be a leader for us. He has the most experience. I like how hard he has worked. I like how hard he practices and I think for the most part he has something special about how hard he practices. He has been a really good example to our guys."

On the team's progress and what it needs to do to win:
"I can see progress. I left here yesterday thinking we didn't have a good day of practice, and one of the things I have tried to get better at is not jumping to conclusions like that. Because I actually went home, watched tape and it was a lot better than I thought. So I can see the progression of us getting better. We just have to stay positive and continue to work every day, and that is the one thing that I have been very impressed with and pleased by -- how this team shows up to work every day.

"Were not a team that is going to rely on just one guy. We have to be the epitome of a team where it's five guys playing together as one, and those eight or nine guys you have on the bench are still a part of that. And when they get their opportunity, they're ready to step in and do what they can do to help out our basketball team. That's what everything has to be about. It can't be about just an individual.

"We are going to have to play harder than everyone to put ourselves in positions to win basketball games. We aren't just going to out-talent teams; that's not who we are. It's not to say that we aren't talented. We have to be a team that outworks you and does all the little things better than you."