NORMAN — Late in Oklahoma’s season-opening victory over Alabama, the ball bounced just off Sooner forward Ryan Spangler’s finger tips. It had no outcome of the game, but it was a potential rebound and he views any ball up in the air as his for the taking.
He’d already come up with 12 that day. But it wasn’t about the numbers.
“That’s one of the biggest goals for me,” Spangler said when asked about rebounding. “That helps the team in the little ways just to win a ballgame you know, playing defense, rebounding, diving after loose balls.”
In that sense, the most impressive element OU has added for this is Spangler’s tenacity when it comes to rebounding. It’s something its lacked for several seasons and something they desperately need, considering OU will primarily play with an undersized player in the post all season.
Spangler blunted the size gap OU (1-0) had against the Crimson Tide. It’ll be easy to see why when it faces North Texas (1-0) at 7 p.m. today at Lloyd Noble Center.
OU coach Lon Kruger knew he would get that kind of effort from Spangler when the two first made contact. Spangler, who is from Bridge Creek, started his career at Gonzaga, but decided to transfer closer to home after his freshman season. Kruger wasn’t around to recruit him coming out of high school, but the report he got from Gonzaga coach Mark Few was enough to want Spangler on his team.
“The two things they said: he runs the floor like crazy and rebounds like crazy,” Kruger said. “The Gonzaga people really liked him and he liked them. It was just a matter of distance and wanted to share the experience with his family and we’re the beneficiary of that.”