The Norman Transcript

December 1, 2013

Point of attack

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Point guards can be like jumper cables. Their true value goes unnoticed until they are truly needed. Those times come when a struggling team is desperate for an open.

In Oklahoma’s case it’s been when a team wants to run the floor and play in transition as much as possible. A major reason it has been able to is freshman point guard Jordan Woodard.

“I think Jordan is doing a great job. He’s a young point guard and he still has a lot to learn, but me and my teammates are gonna keep on encouraging him,” senior forward Cameron Clark said of Woodard. “He works extremely hard every day in practice and things like that. It’s paying off so far.”

The Sooners (5-1) return to Lloyd Noble Center at 8 p.m. today to face Mercer (5-3). They’ll be gunning for their seventh straight game with at least 76 points and coming off their first 100-plus point game since 2005.

There are a lot of reasons for the scoring increase. It’s very obvious OU put a lot of work in improving its scoring ability in the offseason.

But OU is also benefiting from having a true point guard. Woodard, who is averaging 9.8 points per game, has a 28-to-12 assists to turnover ratio through the first seven games. A 2-to-1 ratio is considered really good. Woodard has exceeded it thus far.

“I wasn’t really worried about my stat line or anything like that. I just wanted to go out and play hard for my teammates,” he said. “I’m feeling pretty comfortable right now, in the six games that we’ve played so far. Hopefully I can keep that up.”

The season isn’t even a month old and freshman have a long history of hitting the wall after about two months. Woodard’s impact will be easier to identify after the grind of the Big 12 Conference schedule settles.

But he’s shown through the first seven games that he adds an element OU hasn’t had in years. The Sooners didn’t have a true point guard last season and it’s been years since they truly did.

“Characteristic of this group is they’ve been very unselfish. They haven’t been concerned about the stat sheet,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “They keep moving the ball. They want to get the ball to people and get good results. A lot of people are doing that. It’s good to see a lot of plays being made for each other, and guys stepping up and knocking down shots.”

When you have a good point guard, it seems like that happens a lot. Woodard is showing all the signs of being a pretty good one.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

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