Jan. 2, 2000

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Game Information
Ranked 19th in the latest ESPN/USA Today poll, Oklahoma (11-1) hosts Lamar (6-4) Monday at 7 p.m. at Lloyd Noble Center. 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 also be televised locally by Sooner Sports Network (KWTV Channel 9 in Oklahoma City and TCI Cable in Tulsa). Bill Teegins (play-by-play) and Charlie Spoonhour (analyst) will announce.

Oklahoma Update
The Sooners claimed the All-College Tournament title, their third tournament crown of the season, by beating Mount St. Mary's (94-41) and Arkansas State (64-51) last Wednesday and Thursday in Oklahoma City. The victories improved OU's record to 11-1, its best to start to a season since the 1989-90 campaign when it began 12-0.

Forward Eduardo Najera registered double-doubles in both All-College games and was named tournament MVP. The senior All-America candidate averaged 22.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.5 steals in guiding the Sooners to the championship. On the season, Najera is averaging 18.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per outing.

Senior center Victor Avila has elevated his play lately, averaging 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in Oklahoma's last four games. He produced 17 points and 12 rebounds Dec. 18 versus Georgia Southern and 13 points and 10 rebounds against Mount St. Mary's.

Junior forward Jameel Heywood, who missed the last two games with a sprained left foot, is listed as probable for Monday's contest.

About Lamar
Lamar, coached by former Marquette and Siena mentor Mike Deane, enters Monday's game riding a four-game winning streak. During the brief streak, the Cardinals have beaten Texas A&M in overtime (76-69), Rice on the road (51-40), Louisiana-Monroe in triple overtime (94-92) and Northwestern State (70-58).

Senior forward Landon Rowe averages 16.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest, both team highs, and is shooting .489 from three-point range. Junior guard Kenyon Spears ranks second in scoring with his 11.1 points-per-game average while senior backcourt mate Malcolm McCreight averages a team-high 4.9 assists per game. The Cardinals are shooting just .396 from the field and .338 from beyond the arc, but are limiting foes to .395 and .315 respective marks.

Deane, in his first year at Lamar, is in his 16th year as a collegiate head coach. He owns a 296-161 (.648) career record.

OKLAHOMA PROBABLE STARTERS

PPGRPGAPG
F21Eduardo Najera (6-8, 240, Sr.)18.88.81.9
C33Renzi Stone (6-10, 250, Sr.)5.03.81.8
G5Nolan Johnson (6-4, 215, Jr.)7.53.81.6
G11J.R. Raymond (6-2, 175, So.)16.23.83.4
G14Tim Heskett (6-1, 185, Jr.)8.92.31.8

LAMAR PROBABLE STARTERS

PPGRPGAPG
F32Landon Rowe (6-8, 225, Sr.)16.68.31.0
F44Marlone Jackson (6-8, 225, Sr.)8.55.71.0
G4Malcolm McCreight (5-8, 165, Sr.)2.92.54.9
G5Bobby Manheimer (6-1, 190, Sr.)5.21.50.4
G10Kenyon Spears (6-3, 190, Jr.)11.15.63.3

Oklahoma/Lamar Statistical Comparison

OKLAHOMACATEGORYLAMAR
11-1Overall Record6-4
77.6Points Average65.4
60.4Opponent Points Average63.3
37.1Rebounds Average37.7
31.4Opponent Rebounding Average39.1
.472Field Goal Percentage.396
.412Opponent Field Goal Percentage.395
.4063-Pt. Percentage.338
.354Opponent 3-Pt. Percentage.315
.726Free Throw Percentage.672
17.3Personal Fouls Average16.7
15.2Assists Average14.5
12.3Turnovers Average17.2
2.6Blocked Shots Average3.2
6.6Steals Average9.0

Series with Lamar
Oklahoma owns a 5-2 series advantage over Lamar with the most recent contest resulting in a 98-87 OU win in the 1993-94 season in Norman. Sophomore Ryan Minor led the Sooners with 25 points in that contest.

Coming Up
Oklahoma opens Big 12 play Saturday at home versus Texas A&M at 3 p.m. (televised by ESPN Regional) and then hosts Baylor Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m (televised by Sooner Sports Network). OU's first Big 12 road game is Saturday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. at Texas (ESPN Regional).

Avila's Production Up
Senior center Victor Avila, who averaged 1.9 points and 2.5 rebounds over OU's first eight games, has averaged 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in four games since. He is also shooting .625 from the field and has six assists during the four-game stretch. Avila is now averaging 5.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game this season.

Najera Climbing OU Charts
Preseason All-American and John R. Wooden Award candidate Eduardo Najera has already collected a number of in-season honors with his fast start. The senior forward is averaging 18.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game (both team highs) and was named Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournament MVP. Najera was also named to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team and earned Big 12 Player-of-the-Week acclaim Dec. 14. Najera, who shot .415 from the field and .642 from the free throw line last year, has posted .451 and .711 marks so far this season.

The Chihuahua, Mexico, native entered the season ranked 29th in OU career scoring and 15th in career rebounding, but now ranks 15th (1,246 points) and 13th (701 rebounds). Najera needs 93 points to move into 14th place on the all-time scoring list ahead of Mookie Blaylock. In 12 games this season, he has already passed Cary Carrabine, Scott Martin, Joe King, Damon Patterson, Terry Stotts, Willie Rogers, Brent Price, Lester Lane, Corey Brewer, Bobby Jack, Garfield Heard, David Little, Aaron Curry and Al Beal in career scoring.

Sooner Guards Shooting .452 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 12 games, the Sooners have made 99-of-244 trey attempts for a .406 mark (the school record of .414 was set in 1986-87). Sooner guards are shooting an amazing .452 on the year. Here's a look at the statistics of OU's four three-point shooting guards:

Player3FG3FGAPct.3FG/G
J.R. Raymond3577.4552.9
Tim Heskett3178.3972.6
Kelley Newton2034.5881.7
Hollis Price819.4210.7

Treys Per Game Down Recently
After nine games, the Sooners averaged 9.2 three-point makes per contest. In the last three, however, OU has averaged just 5.3 conversions. J.R. Raymond, who had made at least two treys in each of the team's first 10 games, has just one make in the last two contests combined.

Bucking the Trend
Entering the season, Oklahoma's points-per-game average had decreased nearly every year since the 1987-88 campaign (OU averaged 102.9 points per contest in that Final Four season). Last year, the Sooners averaged 70.2 points per game, their lowest figure since 1977-78, but this year OU is averaging 77.6 points per contest.

YearPPG
1987-88102.9
1988-89102.2
1989-90101.3
1990-9196.1
1991-9294.6
1992-9389.1
1993-9487.3
1994-9581.7
1995-9679.0
1996-9774.3
1997-9874.6
1998-9970.2
1999-0077.6

Raymond One of Big 12's Top Newcomers
Sophomore point guard J.R. Raymond, who sat out his freshman season as a partial qualifier, ranks second on the team and in the Big 12's top 10 in scoring (16.2 ppg). He also averages 2.9 three-pointers per game, leads the team in assists (3.4 apg) and ranks second in steals (1.3 spg). Raymond has made a team-high 35 three-pointers on 77 attempts (.455). He is shooting .451 from the field and .853 from the charity stripe.

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 can gain a fourth year of eligibility if he graduates from OU within four years of arriving on campus.

Heskett Dependable with the Ball
Tim Heskett, who averages 25.8 minutes per game, has committed just seven turnovers this season. That's an average of one turnover every 44 minutes. The junior guard ranks third on the team with an 8.9 points-per-game scoring average and ranks third in the Big 12 with 2.6 three-point makes per contest.

Big 12 Begins Season in Fine Fashion
Heading into Sunday, Big 12 schools have posted an 97-35 (.735) cumulative record. Three squads have captured neutral-court tournament crowns: Oklahoma won the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska (beat Montana State, George Washington and California), Kansas won the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska (beat Georgia, Xavier and Georgia Tech), and Texas won the Puerto Rico Shootout in San Juan, Puerto Rico (beat Arizona State, DePaul and Michigan State). Iowa State finished second at the Big Island Invitational in Hilo, Hawaii, losing only to Cincinnati in the title game.

Four Big 12 teams are ranked in both major polls. In the AP poll, Kansas is ranked 10th, Oklahoma State is 11th, Texas is 18th and Oklahoma is 22nd. In the ESPN/USA Today poll, Kansas is ranked 10th, Oklahoma State is 11th, Texas is 15th and Oklahoma is 22nd.

OU Miscellany

  • Four players (Tim Heskett, Eduardo Najera, J.R. Raymond and Renzi Stone) have each started all 12 games.
  • Five Sooners (Victor Avila, Tim Heskett, Kelley Newton, J.R. Raymond and Nolan Johnson) are shooting better than .800 from the free throw line.
  • After posting three consecutive double-digit scoring efforts, Hollis Price has averaged just 2.3 points over the last four games.
  • In five-plus years under Coach Sampson, the Sooners are 67-8 (.893)when scoring 80 or more points and are 53-2 (.964) when scoring at least 80 points at home.
  • Oklahoma has been outrebounded just twice in its 12 games (vs. Mississippi and Cincinnati).
  • OU has committed fewer turnovers than its opponents in all but one game (vs. George Washington). It is averaging just 12.3 turnovers per outing.
  • Thirty-one of Tim Heskett's 34 field goal conversions have been three-pointers while 20 of Kelley Newton's 23 field goal makes have been treys. Newton's first 17 baskets were three-pointers.
  • The Sooners are shooting .472 from the field this season. Last year OU shot .421 from the field.
  • Heskett has committed just seven turnovers this season in 309 total minutes. That's an average of one every 44 minutes. He boasts a 3.0 assist/turnover ratio, the best on the squad.
  • 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.
  • In his last nine games, Eduardo Najera is averaging 7.6 free throw attempts.
  • OU averaged 13.6 assists in its first seven games, but is averaging 17.4 in its last five.

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. OU has posted a 504-232 record over the span for a .685 winning percentage.

OU Boasts Nation's Fourth-Longest Postseason Streak
Oklahoma has now 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 (North Carolina and Indiana made last year's NCAA field while Georgetown competed in the NIT). The last time Oklahoma did not compete in the postseason was in 1980-81. The four longest current postseason streaks are as follows:

TeamStreakNCAANIT Started
North Carolina332941966-67
Georgetown252051974-75
Indiana222021977-78
Oklahoma181441981-82

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 114-56 (.671) record and a 67-14 (.827) 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

YearSchoolRecord (Pct.)
1981-82Montana Tech7-20 (.259)
1982-83Montana Tech22-9 (.710)
1983-84Montana Tech22-7 (.759)
1984-85Montana Tech22-9 (.710)
1987-88Washington State13-16 (.448)
1988-89Washington State10-19 (.345)
1989-90Washington State7-22 (.241)
1990-91Washington State16-12 (.571)
1991-92Washington State22-11 (.667)
1992-93Washington State15-12 (.556)
1993-94Washington State20-11 (.645)
1994-95Oklahoma23-9 (.719)
1995-96Oklahoma17-13 (.567)
1996-97Oklahoma19-11 (.633)
1997-98Oklahoma22-11 (.667)
1998-99Oklahoma22-11 (.667)
1999-00Oklahoma11-1 (.917)
Totals290-204 (.587)

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" will air Fridays at 2:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest. The half-hour show will also 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" will be co-hosted by Steve Neumann, director of broadcasting at OU, and Greg Kerr, weekend sports anchor at Oklahoma City's KWTV Channel 9. The one-hour show will air 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 Saturday, Jan. 1)

Big 12Overall
TeamWLPct.WLPct.
Oklahoma00.000111.917
Okla. State00.000101.909
Iowa State00.000112.846
Kansas00.000102.833
Baylor00.00092.818
Texas Tech00.00072.778
Colorado00.00083.727
Kan. State00.00073.700
Texas00.00073.700
Missouri00.00074.636
Nebraska00.00066.500
Texas A&M00.00046.400

Player Profiles

3MICHAEL CANO (6-1, 170, SO., GUARD)

  • A walk-on who played in eight games last season.
  • Scored his first career points with a last-minute basket against Arkansas-Little Rock Dec. 11.

5NOLAN JOHNSON (6-4, 215, JR., GUARD)

  • Has started in 10 games and is averaging 7.5 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting .508 from the field.
  • Earned second-team junior college All-America honors as a sophomore two years ago.
  • Played at Kilgore (Texas) Junior College but wrapped up academic requirements at Garden City (Kan.) Community College.
  • Named Brooklyn (N.Y.) Player of the Year as a high school senior.

10HOLLIS PRICE (6-1, 165, FR., GUARD)

  • Averaging 5.7 points, 2.7 assists and a team-high 1.4 steals per game.
  • Regarded as one of the country's 50 best high school seniors last year at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans.
  • Earned first-team All-State and New Orleans Metro Player-of-the-Year honors as a senior when he averaged 25.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game.
  • Hit game-winning shot in 1998 17-and-under AAU national championship game and was named tournament MVP.

11J.R. RAYMOND (6-2, 175, SO., GUARD)

  • Poured in 29 points in first collegiate game Nov. 19.
  • Ranks first on team in minutes (34.0 mpg) and assists (3.4 apg), and second in scoring (16.2 ppg).
  • Earned Big 12 Rookie-of-the-Week honor Dec. 14.
  • Named Sooner Holiday Classic MVP after averaging 18.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest.
  • Practiced with the team under "partial qualifier" label last year, but was not allowed to play in games.

14TIM HESKETT (6-1, 185, JR., GUARD)

  • Averaging 2.6 three-point makes per game (ranks third in Big 12) and just 0.6 turnovers per outing.
  • Set single-season OU record with his .473 three-point mark last year and is the career leader in three-point percentage (.422).
  • Ranked second in the Big 12 in three-point percentage and in three-pointers per game (2.5) last year.
  • Shot .529 (27-for-51) from three-point land over last 11 games.
  • Made 7-of-9 three-pointers and scored a career-high 23 points versus Western Carolina in third game of last season.

20KELLEY NEWTON (6-2, 190, JR., GUARD)

  • Has scored 18 points in two of the last four games.
  • Twenty of his 23 baskets have been three-pointers.
  • Shooting .588 from three-point land to ranks second in Big 12.
  • Tore ACL and MCL in his left knee during Oct. 31, 1998,scrimmage and missed the entire season (had surgery Nov. 20).

21EDUARDO NAJERA (6-8, 240, SR., FORWARD)

  • A preseason Playboy All-American who was named Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournament MVP and to the Sooner Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team.
  • Averaging 18.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals.
  • Scored career-high 29 points and grabbed season-high 14 boards vs. Arkansas State in All-College Touney title game.
  • Ranks 15th on OU's all-time scoring list with 1,246 points.
  • Averaged team highs in points (15.5) and rebounds (8.3), and ranked second in assists (2.2) and steals (1.8) last year.
  • Averaged 18.5 points and 14.0 rebounds in first two NCAA Tournament rounds to lead OU to Sweet 16.

22OLEG REZTSOV (7-2, 230, SR., CENTER)

  • Played a career-high 10 minutes versus Mount St. Mary's.
  • Scored four points in five minutes of action in first exhibition game this year.
  • Is the tallest player in school history.
  • Maintains his own web site (http://i.am/sooner).

30JARRETT HART (6-3, 210, FR., GUARD)

  • A first-team All-State selection at Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., last year.
  • Averaged 17.4 points, 8.5 boards and 7.3 assists as a senior.
  • Helped Arkansas Hawks AAU team to national title over the summer.

32VICTOR AVILA (6-10, 255, SR., CENTER)

  • Averaging 5.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
  • Has recorded double-doubles in two of last four contests(averaging 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in those games).
  • Tied career highs with 17 points and 12 rebounds versusGeorgia Southern Dec. 18 and had career-high four assists.
  • A second-team junior college All-American who averaged 23.7 points, 15.3 boards and 2.8 blocks per contest in 1997-98.

33RENZI STONE (6-10, 250, SR., FORWARD/CENTER)

  • Has started all 12 games and is averaging 5.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per outing.
  • A starter in 18 games a year ago who averaged 3.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists per contest while shooting a team-high .531 from the field.
  • Grabbed at least four rebounds 17 times last year.
  • One of seven OU students nominated this past September for a Rhodes Scholarship.
  • Has missed just one game during his Sooner career.

34JAMEEL HEYWOOD (6-6, 220, JR., FORWARD)

  • Shooting team-high .677 from field and averaging 4.8 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per contest.
  • Transferred from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.
  • A second-team All-Jayhawk Conference selection as a freshman and sophomore (averaged 17.0 points both seasons).
  • Named the 1995 Bronx (N.Y.) Player of the Year as a junior at Evander Childs High School.
  • Voted 1996 New England Player of the Year at Salisbury(Conn.) Prep School.