The Norman Transcript

October 12, 2012

Sooners, picked seventh, have nothing to hide

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — No one associated with Oklahoma basketball will likely work for the CIA. The Sooners make little attempt to keep secrets.

Wander by Lloyd Noble Center at 5 p.m. today and you can watch their first practice of the 2012-13 season. If that’s not convenient enough, the practice will be streamed live on soonersports.tv.

The Sooners don’t have anything to hide.

“We don’t have any secrets,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “This game always comes down to execution and doing it well enough to get the result that you want. I think this will be good for the people that want to tune in and find out about what’s going on. Hopefully, they’ll get to know the players a little bit better. In the long run, I hope it will encourage them to come out to Lloyd Noble Center and be part of the crowd.”

The Sooners firmly believe this is a season that won’t end with a loss in the Big 12 tournament.

OU returns its top six scorers from last season’s 15-16 squad, including all five starters. All told, 88 percent of their scoring, 81 percent of their rebounding and 78 percent of their assists from last season will be in the practice gym today.

Steven Pledger and Romero Osby are the Big 12’s leading returning scorer (16.2 points per game) and rebounder (7.3 rebounds per game), respectively. Point guard Sam Grooms ranked second in the league in assists last year (6.0 per game). Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Amath M’Baye, a transfer from Wyoming who practiced with the Sooners last season, will also be on the court.

“We’re a much deeper and more athletic team on the whole,” Kruger said. “There’s gonna be better competition for time, internally. We’ll be able to keep people fresher in ballgames, which is great.”

OU was picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 Conference in the coaches poll that was released on Thursday.

It might sound like a slight, but the league easily placed six teams in the NCAA Tournament last season. Exceeding expectations by one spot can mean the end of a three-year absence from March Madness.

“I hope that’s the case,” Grooms said. “More importantly, I just think we need to push ourselves above 20 wins this year. It’s really possible with the returning people we have and with guys being better than we were last year and the guys we’ve added. This could be a really good year.”

If you don’t believe Grooms, check out for yourself. The Sooners will live stream their first eight practices.

“I think if we can get more people to take an interest, then we’re all for it,” Kruger said.

John ShinnFollow me @john_shinnjshinn@normantranscript.com

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