The Norman Transcript

October 15, 2010

Work starts for OU Men

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Cade Davis let out a hearty laugh when he was asked if he knew the names of all his teammates.

“Is this a quiz? Do you want me to rattle them all off?” the Oklahoma senior guard joked.

But it was a question that needed to be asked. After all, the Sooners will hold their first official practice for the 2010-11 basketball season today. Among the group taking the floor today will be nine players who weren’t around last season with eight of them eligible to play this season.

After a 13-18 season, change — even a drastic overhaul — isn’t a bad thing.

It’s not so much a change in personnel the Sooners sought. It was a change in attitude that was the ultimate goal.

Last season was a wreck before the season ever started. Offseason workouts were blown off, believing talent would override tenacity. The attitude rolled right into the season with dismal results.

OU coach Jeff Capel is enthusiastic that he won’t have to fight that same battle.

“They’ve worked at a very high level,” he said about his team. “Everything they’ve done on and off the court, they’ve done it in a manner in which they have something to prove. That’s a good thing; you should always feel that way. Even when you’ve had a heckuva a season or a heckuva a game, every day is a different day and every day is a different opportunity to improve and get better. Our guys have exhibited that in everything they’ve done.”

Davis, who is the only returning starter and the only senior on the roster, agrees.

“All the guys who’ve come in have had a chip on their shoulder and ready to prove they belong here and want to be here,” Davis said. “It’s been fun. We’ve had chemistry. We’ve had lots of people holding each other accountable. It’s been a good summer and a good preseason.”

“It’s a complete turnaround from last summer with the types of attitudes and just wanting to work and wanting to do things right,” Davis added.

Today, OU will start molding that into a team on the floor. One thing about having so many new players is that there’s no guarantees of what they can do. Roles have to be defined, but everyone has something to prove.

Sophomore guard Steven Pledger and sophomore forward Andrew Fitzgerald join Davis as the only players back who played significant minutes a year ago.

“It’s a clean slate for everyone. We’re not coming in with any notions that this guy is going to do this or this guy is going to be a starter. We’re coming in to see who we are,” Capel said. “That should be exciting for everybody.”

John Shinn 366-3536 jshinn@normantranscript.com