The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

October 30, 2012

Veterans counting on newcomers to push team forward

(Continued)

NORMAN —

It may not be a promise, but coming off a 15-16 season and a 5-13 trip through the conference, it sounds like an expectation and that has to be welcome news from a program three seasons removed from its last winner, back when Blake Griffin was a super sophomore playing his way to the top of the draft.

It would mean coming a long way in a short period of time, but it does make some sense, because the Sooners’ biggest issue last season was the way they fell apart after the half. It wasn’t that OU wasn’t good enough so much as it couldn’t be good enough for a long enough period of time.

Forty minutes.

At the time, Kruger would talk about the need to remain consistent and competitive throughout. But the truth was, the OU’s core — Steven Pledger, Romero Osby, Andrew Fitzgerald and Grooms — just didn’t have much help. The first three combined to average 41.3 points per game, while Grooms averaged 6.7 and had an assist-to-turnover ration (2.85 to 1) most point guards dream about.

Not too bad, but not good enough.

“I can think of about five or seven games where if we do the little things, we win,” Pledger said. “Win those games and the whole season’s different.”

Win five more games and the Sooners would have been 20-11. Win seven and they would have been 22-9.

So, why not turn things around? The big word Monday was “depth.” And this was “depth” in it best light (sometimes “depth” is what people talk about when nobody’s very good), when what it really means is “quality depth.”

OU believes it has it. That it will make all the difference.

“It would definitely be a disappointment,” if the Sooners fall short of March Madness,” Pledger said.

“‘Failure’ is the perfect word,” said Grooms of the possibility. “We have everything we need.”

What they have is a bunch of newcomers. But, as Kruger said, it seems “realistic,” “legitimate.”

Grooms’ smile was so big.

Clay HorningFollow me @clayhorningcfhorning@normantranscript.com

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