The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 31, 2009

Pattillo making a difference

Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel knew he would have the conversation with Juan Pattillo at some point. It was the timing that was odd.

On Jan. 12 and a little less than an hour before the Sooners were about to face to Texas at Lloyd Noble Center, Pattillo walked into Capel’s office.

Pattillo, a junior college transfer, decided prior to the season he wanted to redshirt. But on this night, his mind had changed. Practicing every day and watching games in street clothes wasn’t for him.

“I just felt coming from junior college that I wasn’t quite ready,” Pattillo said. “As the season went on and practice went on, I started to get a better feel for it. Sitting on the bench is a tough thing … After a while, I thought I should be out there helping the team out.”

Capel told him to get dressed, even though he wasn’t sure if he could play him.

“It was uncharted territory for me,” the coach said. “I didn’t know if there was a sheet I had to sign or something like that.”

There wasn’t, and for three games, Pattillo’s inclusion didn’t mean much. He played sparingly against the Longhorns and four days later against Texas A&M.; He never got off the bench Jan. 21 against Nebraska.

But in the last two games, he’s helped push the fourth-ranked Sooners (20-1, 6-0 Big 12) into overdrive, averaging 10.5 points in victories over Baylor and Oklahoma State.

“He’s been making a big impact,” guard Tony Crocker said. “We’d been telling him we needed him since he came on his visit. We saw him and knew he was good, and felt like he could help us a lot.”

Others have even stronger opinions.

“He could have done this from the beginning,” guard Willie Warren said of Pattillo. “We probably wouldn’t have a loss on our record — if you ask me — if he would have played against Arkansas.”

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