Aug. 10, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. -- NCAA rules prohibit coaches from conducting practice or individual workouts with student-athletes during the summer. Fortunately for new OU head men's basketball coach Lon Kruger, his April 1 hiring afforded him and members of his staff the opportunity to instruct Sooner players for two hours a week prior to the end of the spring semester.
Kruger recently shared what he saw from OU's nine returning letterwinners during those workouts and what he might expect from them during the upcoming 2011-12 campaign. Here's what he had to say...
|Coach Kruger on Returning Players|
On Senior Guard T.J. Franklin:
"T.J. gives us great leadership and activity and has all the intangibles that will help us be a better team. We look forward to him having a rewarding senior year."
On Senior Forward Barry Honoré:
"Barry's a big guy who understands his role. He's not going to be a big scorer, but he can be a big key for us on the boards. He's a good leader on the floor, a good talker defensively. He's a guy we'll need to get some minutes from."
On Senior Forward C.J. Washington:
"C.J.'s a guy with some size, and we definitely need that. He will be key for us in terms of rebounding and will pick and choose his spots when it comes to scoring. He'll give great effort and will battle defensively. He's worked hard at developing his game and at getting stronger, and should be a dependable guy for us."
On Junior Guard Carl Blair:
"Carl is mature and experienced, having played a year in the Big 12. He knows how tough it is and he worked awfully hard this past spring, and continues to do so, to prepare himself for a bigger and better campaign in the fall."
On Junior Forward Andrew Fitzgerald:
"Andrew's a guy who appears to have a knack to score. It's one of those things that's hard to teach. He knows how to get shots off and he makes shots; he's just got a knack. He's got a great feel for things, and as a coach you like that. He's a mismatch guy. He has to defend bigger guys on the defensive end, but then they've also got to cover him on our offensive end. In situations like that, you just have to figure out how to develop more advantages than you have disadvantages. That's what we'll work for."
On Junior Guard Steven Pledger:
"Steven's a guy who can make shots. He's got a good, strong body and can be a mismatch at the guard spot. He can overpower smaller guards and can take bigger guards off the dribble. We seem to have a lot of guys who can create mismatch opportunities, which we like. That's what you're always looking for from a coaching perspective."
On Sophomore Guard Cameron Clark:
"Cameron's very athletic, is a good slicer and seems to have a knack for scoring. He can make shots -- more mid-range than anything else at this point, but he'll work to continue to improve that range. We're anxious to get him into transition and to getting out and pressuring people defensively."
On Sophomore Forward Tyler Neal:
"Tyler will give us the versatility of playing an undersized inside position or as a bigger guy on the perimeter. He's a guy who will make shots, will play with great enthusiasm and give us flexibility in the lineup throughout the year."
On Sophomore Guard Calvin Newell:
"Calvin's a guy who has a ton of ability. I think as we slide him more to the wing and he worries less about point guard duties it will free him up to be on the attack to go score, which I think is probably what he does best. And we need that."