NORMAN — Stocking stuffers and gifts under the tree. Well, you know, sort of. It’s still just a Christmas column.
· To those who make up the Norman North student section, more of you.
Truth be told, Norman High, the smaller school by a few hundred students, brought the slightly bigger student section to last week’s Crosstown Clash at the North Gym. North, of course, the fourth-ranked girls and the should-be fourth-ranked boys, won both games.
Well, with all apologies to Wade Standley and his team, North might just be a basketball school with a district champion football team. For games coming up against Midwest City and Edmond Memorial or, heck, anybody, the North Gym should be full.
You’ve heard of the Cameron Crazies? Well, come up with your own thing and fill the gym up. The teams are already in place.
· To Nichole Copeland’s NHS girls hoops program, time.
Saying the balance of power in town will shift as soon as next season may be a bridge too far. And still, it could. At the very least, Clash girls basketball is about to become anybody’s game.
Anyway, time is on NHS’ side, because that’s a bunch of fantastic freshmen Copeland’s putting on the court.
· To the North boys, more of the same. To the NHS boys, more of the same and more made shots. Because you have to like the way both teams play. You have to love North’s depth of talent. And you’d like the Tigers’ chances a lot more if just a few more shots fell through the net.
· To the Oklahoma women, a resurgent Aaryn Ellenberg once the new year and conference play roll around.
If she does what she’s done in the past, she’s about to go on a torrid run because she’s never shot this poorly for this prolonged a period in moments her team really needs.
There was a memorably forgettable sophomore streak, but it didn’t cost OU games it clearly should have won the way it has lost at UCLA and Marist this season.
· To the Sooner men, a little respect. Their female counterparts are still hanging on in the top 25 despite four losses, while Lon Kruger’s charges are the first team not in the AP Top 25 despite a single loss, and that in a competitive game, to then-No. 1 Michigan State.
· To Bob Stoops’ Sooners, something else nobody saw coming, the same way nobody could have figured Trevor Knight’s return to form in time to beat Kansas State, nor Blake Bell’s return to form off the scrap heap at Bedlam. One more out-of-nowhere emergence and the Tide might just go out in New Orleans Jan. 2.
· To the Oklahoma City Thunder, more of the same beyond the regular season. Recall the last deep playoff run. The deeper the Thunder went, the more it became a Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook show.
Think of how fondly the bit players of championship teams are so often remembered. Like Michael Cooper with the Showtime Lakers, Robert Horry with the Shaq/Kobe Lakers, John Paxson and then Luc Longley with the Jordan Bulls, Danny Ainge with the Bird/McHale/Parish Celtics.
If Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Steven Adams play well enough to be remembered like those guys, they’ll play the Thunder right into an NBA championship as soon as this season.
· To the Oklahoma City Barons, more fans. You’d think a team of significantly higher quality than the Blazers ever dared to be, that went 40-25-2-9 and reached the AHL’s final four last season could inspire a little more loyalty.
· To Phil Mickelson, more majors; to Tiger Woods, acceptance that he’ll never catch Jack Nicklaus because he won’t; to A-Rod, the willingness to walk away quietly and not become the horribly regrettable person Roger Clemens became; to ESPN, less thoughtless debate like First Take and more thoughtful programming like Olberman; to Mack Brown, peace, because I think he’s done coaching, yet I can’t imagine his being remotely stationary; to Sooner soccer, whatever upgrade’s required to become the success story that Sooner volleyball and tennis and golf and rowing have become, because it’s getting a little ridiculous.
· To every coach, athlete and fan that chats me up, takes my call, thanks me or lectures me, continued appreciation and a debt of gratitude. Yes, the lectures can get old, but the enemy will forever be indifference and non-engagement. All of us around here like that you care.
Follow me @clayhorning
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