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Welcome to the men's basketball blog on SoonerSports.com. Here you will find team updates from OU Director of Media Relations Mike Houck and Communications Intern Charlie Healy. Visit often for behind-the-scenes info, photos and video.

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  Five Questions: James Fraschilla | Wednesday, Oct. 31

Sophomore guard James Fraschilla is an extremely busy guy, but we finally tracked him down for our "Five Questions" feature. The fan favorite from Dallas, Texas, was so good with his first five answers that we decided to keep asking questions. Learn more about the 5-10, 150-pound walk-on in the "Nine Questions" video below.

  Second Scrimmage Video | Monday, Oct. 29

In case you missed Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage, we've got the whole thing right here. For stats and details, see Saturday's blog entry below.

  Red Beats White in Scrimmage | Saturday, Oct. 27

Freshmen Buddy Hield (20) and Isaiah Cousins (15) teamed for 35 points and junior Amath M'Baye tallied 17 as the Red Team beat the White Team 86-65 in today's intrasquad scrimmage at Lloyd Noble Center. The teams combined to shoot .535 from the field and .731 from the free throw line. Click here for the recap and stats.

  Fran Fraschilla High on Sooners | Wednesday, Oct. 24

ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla was in Norman yesterday and caught all of OU's two-and-a-half-hour practice. After the workout, we asked him to issue his thoughts on the Sooners and how he thinks they stack up in the Big 12 race. Here's what he had to say:

  Five Questions: Tyler Neal | Tuesday, Oct. 23

We caught up with junior forward Tyler Neal after practice yesterday for our "Five Questions" series. We asked the Oklahoma City native about his summer, what he focused on in the offseason, his studies, the first week and a half of practice and his best non-basketball talent. Check out Neal's answers below.

  Full Scrimmage Video | Monday, Oct. 22

Did you miss Saturday's scrimmage at McCasland Field House? If so, we've got you covered. Here's the entire event, with head coach Lon Kruger mic'd up. Senior forward Romero Osby led the way by scoring 24 points.

  Field House Series Game 1 Tickets $5 | Friday, Oct. 19

Tickets for the first of two Oklahoma men's basketball Field House Series games are now on sale to the public, and they're just $5. Tickets for the Sooners' Nov. 7 exhibition game against Central Oklahoma, to be played inside historic McCasland Field House in the heart of OU's campus, are available for purchase by clicking here or by calling the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (800) 456-4668. Click here for more information.

  OU at Big 12 Media Day | Thursday, Oct. 18

Head coach Lon Kruger, senior forward Romero Osby and junior forward Amath M'Baye were in Kansas City yesterday representing the Sooners at Big 12 Media Day. Watch the video below for a recap of OU's day, and click here for more coverage.

  Sooners Pick Team Captains | Tuesday, Oct. 16

Head coach Lon Kruger announced Tuesday that seniors Andrew Fitzgerald and Romero Osby and junior Amath M'Baye have been named team captains for the 2012-13 season, as a result of a players' vote. "We've had a lot of guys step up and work hard in the offseason, but it's no surprise, as indicated by the vote of their teammates, that Romero, Andrew and Amath were selected as captains," Kruger said. "Those guys have done an excellent job consistently with workouts as well as on campus and in the community, and their teammates obviously respect that. They want what's best for the team and they're all about working to make each other better every day and representing well, and for those three it comes pretty naturally." Click here for the full release.

  Weekend Practice Reaction | Monday, Oct. 15

The Sooners held their first three practices of the season over the weekend, working out once each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Find out how things went from head coach Lon Kruger, senior forward Romero Osby, junior forward Tyler Neal and freshman guard Je'lon Hornbeak.

  Friday's Practice Highlights | Saturday, Oct. 13

Did you miss the live stream of yesterday's season-opening practice? Don't worry, we've got highlights below. Be sure to check out D.J. Bennett's alley-oop slam off a pass from Cameron Clark near the end. Get used to the OU's high-flying act. Should be a lot of throw-downs this year.

  Practice Begins Today | Friday, Oct. 12

The college basketball world comes alilve today with the official start of practice. We've got you covered with this in-depth OU season preview. Also, watch the video below for comments from head coach Lon Kruger, senior point guard Sam Grooms and junior forward Amath M'Baye.

  Five Questions: Cameron Clark | Thursday, Oct. 11

We corralled another "Five Questions" subject this week in junior Cameron Clark. Watch as the soft-spoken guard from Sherman, Texas, explains why he's quiet and as he talks about how he's improved, the team's newcomers and what he thinks of head coach Lon Kruger. Clark has started 60 of his 63 career games and last year averaged 8.5 points and 4.7 rebounds.

  OU to Live Stream Practices | Wednesday, Oct. 10

Exciting news today with the announcement that the Sooners will live stream their preseason practices on SoonerSports.tv. Fans and media were surpised last year when Lon Kruger opened up the Lloyd Noble Center doors to fans for practice. Now Kruger and company are taking things even further. "We welcome and encourage fans to attend our practices, but we realize that for various reasons not everyone is able to make it," said Kruger. "Now, no matter where they may be located, fans can check in on our progress, see what we're working on and get to know our players." Click here for more details and links.

  Five Questions: Casey Arent | Friday, Oct. 5

Senior Casey Arent takes his turn in the interview chair for today's "Five Questions" feature. The 6-10 center from California talks about his non-basketball talents, what he loves about Oklahoma, how he's improved since last season and his thoughts on this year's team. Make sure you check out his answer to the final question -- "What is something about you that people would be surprised to know?".

  Training With Navy SEALs | Wednesday, Oct. 3

The OU men's and women's basketball teams recently participated in high-level team bonding via a Navy SEALs special training program on campus. The men's program, held in conjunction with the OU lacrosse club team, featured a 90-minute classroom session and a grueling two-hour workout in 95-degree Oklahoma heat. Both were conducted by Navy SEALs Chief Special Warfare Operator Rob Stella.

The theme of the two-day program was mental toughness, or as Stella explained, the ability to understand and use stress reactions to optimize performance. Important tactics include goal setting, visualization (mental rehearsal), self-talk and stress control.

Also emphasized was the notion that learning from other peoples' mistakes is not possible. You have to experience failure in order to learn for yourself. The key is responding to the failure.

"When failure slaps you in the face," said Stella, "don't let it own you."

The Sooners had plenty of opportunity to learn during their outdoor workout. Click here for a photo gallery, or watch the three-minute video below.

  Five Questions: Sam Grooms | Monday, Oct. 1

In true point guard fashion, Sam Grooms handled today's "Five Questions" with relative ease. Grooms discusses how he's improved since last year, what his role is as a point guard, his take on freshman point guards Isaiah Cousins and Je'lon Hornbeak, and OU's prospects for the coming season. Grooms, from Greensboro, N.C., led the Big 12 Conference and ranked eighth nationally last season in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8) and ranked second in the league in assists per game (6.0).

  Five Questions: Steven Pledger | Thursday, Sept. 27

Senior sharpshooter Steven Pledger sat down with us this week to talk about what he does away from basketball, how he's improved since last year, his most memorable moments at OU and which new teammate has surprised him the most. Pledger, from Chesapeake, Va., averaged a team-high 16.2 points last year and already ranks sixth in OU history with 178 3-pointers.

  Five Questions: Andrew Fitzgerald | Monday, Sept. 24

Senior forward Andrew Fitzgerald takes the hot seat in today's "Five Questions" video feature. In this installment, Fitzgerald, who has started every game the last two years and has averaged 12.3 points and 5.0 rebounds during the span, talks about what he likes to do away from basketball, while also sharing his thoughts on this year's OU squad. Check back on Thursday for our next video.

  Records Set in Mile Run | Thursday, Sept. 20

The Sooners' preseason strength and conditioning program continued this morning with the mile run and the majority of the team set personal bests. Included in that group were Buddy Hield (4:58), Amath M'Baye (5:20), Isaiah Cousins (5:25), Ryan Spangler (5:27), Jarrod Kruger (5:34), Je'lon Hornbeak (5:36), Steve Noworyta (5:37), Steven Pledger (5:37), C.J. Cole (5:40), Romero Osby (5:52), Tyler Neal (5:54), Sam Grooms (5:55) and Casey Arent (5:59).

Hield's time of 4:58 tied an OU men's basketball program record also held by Michael Ott and Kellen Sampson (2005).

"Pre-season has been going well," said fourth-year strength and conditioning coach Jozsef Szendrei. "We lift four times a week at 6:15 a.m. and run the mile every once in a while. The team has been growing together more and more behind the leadership of Amath (M'Baye), Andrew (Fitzgerald) and Romero (Osby).

"It has been arguably the best pre-season since I have been here at OU, and every guy is doing his part to make this team better and to take the program back where it belongs."

  Five Questions: Romero Osby | Wednesday, Sept. 19

Senior forward Romero Osby is the first subject in our "Five Questions" feature series. Each week leading up to the season, we'll interview one or two OU men's basketball players in an attempt to allow fans to get to know them on a more personal level. We'll also mix in some hoops questions. Check back early next week for the second of our 17 player features when we sit down with senior Andrew Fitzgerald.

  Amath M'Baye Behind the Camera | Friday, Sept. 14

The Sooners held their annual photo day earlier this week, mugging in the team's practice gym for shots that will be used in this year's media guide and other promotional materials. We asked junior forward Amath M'Baye to document the afternoon on video, and he happily obliged. As you can see, Amath was extremely comfortable with his assignment.

  Catching Up With the Griffins | Wednesday, Sept. 12

Brothers Blake and Taylor Griffin were back in Norman over the weekend, spending lots of time working out at Lloyd Noble Center and attending the football team's 69-13 win over Florida A&M. SoonerSports.com's Andrew Lentz caught up with each for the following video features. Watch as the Griffins provide personal updates and talk about the direction they see the OU men's hoops program heading.

  Field House Series Announced | Thursday, Aug. 30

Athletics Director Joe Castiglione and head coach Lon Kruger announced today that the Sooners will play two of their 2012 home games at historic McCasland Field House on the OU campus. The Sooners' Nov. 7 exhibition game against Central Oklahoma (7 p.m. CT) and Dec. 31 regular season contest versus Texas A&M Corpus-Christi (2 p.m.) will be played as part of the inaugural Field House Series inside the 84-year-old venue. The last regular season game played at the Field House was the 1975 regular season finale against Iowa State when Alvan Adams scored 43 points to lead OU to an 84-79 win. Season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets for these two games. Click here for more complete information, and click here for a photo gallery of OU's hoops history in the Field House.



  Alumni Game Highlights | Monday, Aug. 27

Wow, what a fun weekend. Head coach Lon Kruger and his staff hosted the second annual Sooner Basketball Family Weekend reunion this past Friday and Saturday. The two-day event featured a golf tournament, Tip In Club banquet benefiting the Wayman Tisdale Scholarship Fund and a Legends Alumni Game Saturday afternoon in front of approximately 4,000 fans at Lloyd Noble Center. Nineteen former Sooners participated in the contest that saw Team Cream pull away late for a 74-60 win over Team Crimson behind Jozsef Szendrei's 14 points and 24 rebounds. Click here for a full weekend recap. Game highlights are below:

1988 Final Four Tribute Video
Halftime festivities at Saturday's Legends Alumni Game included a video tribute to OU's 1988 team that finished 35-4, won the Big Eight regular season and tournament titles, and advanced to the national championship game. On hand for the 25-year anniversary celebration were the entire coaching staff, and players Mookie Blaylock, Ricky Grace, Tyrone Jones, Stacey King, Tony Martin, Terrence Mullins, Jason Skurcenski and Andre Wiley. Here's the video:

  ESPN Ranks OU in "50 in 50" | Wednesday, Aug. 22

Using a detailed point system devised by its stats and information department, ESPN this week is releasing its "50 in 50" list of the 50 most successful men's college basketball programs of the last 50 years. Today the Sooners appeared in a tie for the 31st spot with Gonzaga. OU, which was rated No. 8 in the decade of the 1980's, was hurt by its performance in the 1960's (rated 355th). The Sooners' "50 in 50 Starting Five" consists of guards Mookie Blaylock and Hollis Price, forward Blake Griffin, forward/center Alvan Adams and center Wayman Tisdale. Top bench options listed are Stacey King, Garfield Heard and Ryan Minor. Click here for OU's capsule.

  Happy Birthday, Coach | Monday, Aug. 20

A happy belated birthday to head coach Lon Kruger, who turned 60 yesterday. Kruger, who is starting his 27th year as a collegiate head coach and is just six wins shy of 500 for his career, and his wife, Barb, received the best gift possible earlier this month when they became first-time grandparents. Their daughter, Angie, gave birth to a happy and healthy baby girl in Las Vegas.

  OU Slated for Nike Event in 2017 | Friday, Aug. 17

Oklahoma Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione confirmed today the OU men's basketball program's planned participation in a 16-team men's basketball event in Portland, Ore., that will honor Nike co-founder Phil Knight in November 2017. ESPN.com's Andy Katz wrote about the event, which will reportedly also include fellow Nike-sponsored schools Butler, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oregon, Portland, Stanford, Texas and Xavier.

  Summer Q&A with Lon Kruger | Thursday, Aug. 16

It's pretty easy to tell from reading this summer Q&A with head coach Lon Kruger that he thinks the 2012-13 Sooners will be quite a bit improved from last year. OU returns all five starters and its top six scorers from last season, and features its largest senior class in 20 years. Mix in a talented and dedicated group of newcomers, and this under-the-radar team could have more people talking before long. For a PDF of OU's 18-page summer prospectus, click here.

  Aug. 24-25 Alumni Weekend Set | Tuesday, Aug. 14

Head coach Lon Kruger announced details of the second annual Sooner Basketball Family Weekend alumni reunion today, scheduled for Friday-Saturday, Aug. 24-25. That's when OU will welcome back former players and coaches for three separate events, each of them accessible to the public. The weekend will include a Friday Tip In Club golf tournament ($200 entry fee), a Friday dinner benefitting the Wayman Tisdale Scholarship Fund ($50 per person), and a Saturday Legends Alumni Game (free; noon tip). Featured weekend guests will be members of the 1988 OU team, which advanced to the national title game 25 seasons ago.

As of today, 1988 team members scheduled to be on hand this year are Mookie Blaylock, Harvey Grant, Tyrone Jones, Stacey King, Tony Martin, Terrence Mullins, Dave Sieger, Jason Skurcenski and Andre Wiley. Head coach Billy Tubbs and assistants Mike Anderson, Jim Kerwin and Mike Mims are also slated to attend. Click here for complete information, including more players planning to be in Norman and a recap of last year's event, which was attended by more than 120 basketball alumni.



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