The University of Oklahoma men’s basketball team opened a new chapter in their program’s history with a 77-57 win over Coppin State.
Last year’s Sooners team was a very different beast than Oklahoma faithful are used to seeing. Former head coach Kelvin Sampson instilled a vision of teamwork when he led the Sooners into the postseason year after year.
Jeff Capel came into his role as head coach and followed suit but something changed over time. It might be the fact that Blake Griffin was so great but Capel decided he wanted to being superstars into the Oklahoma program.
He brought in top rated recruits in McDonalds All-Americans like Tiny Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin. What resulted was nothing but trouble and heartache for the once-proud Oklahoma Sooners basketball program.
Both men are gone now, as is Willie Warren, although Gallon’s stench remains thanks to an NCAA investigation into money given to the former player’s mother.
Only guard Cade Davis remains from Oklahoma’s 13-18 team from last season. Davis remains the heart and soul of the new, young Oklahoma Sooners basketball team. He averaged 9.9 points per game in 2009-10 and looks to get many more opportunities now that the “me-first generation” of the Sooners has ridden out of town.
Davis is one of only five holdovers from last year’s disaster. Filling in the blanks are six freshmen and three transfers.
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This team looks nothing like last year’s team. That is both a figurative and literal statement. Sophomore Andrew Fitzgerald comes into the season 25-pounds lighter than he played last season. His body fat is down from 23.4 to 9.0-percent.
“It’s a complete difference,” said Fitzgerald. “I feel more explosive. I’m more mobile. I can defend. It’s crazy. I can even defend some of the guards on the team. But I’m still working on muscling up.”
The best news for Oklahoma Sooners basketball is there are no expectations for this team at all this season. It will take next to nothing to make fans smile after last year’s finish.
The 77-54 win over the Coppin State Eagles (8-22 in 2009-10) is a nice start.
Fitzgerald led the Sooners with 22-points. Steven Pledger and freshmen duo Cameron Clark and Calvin Newell Jr. contributed double-digit point totals as well. Interestingly, Davis, the only holdover starter, only made eight points in the game.
The Sooners were also dormant on the board, grabbing only nine rebounds in the game as a team. It is a young team, and one that has a lot of work ahead of them, but they are moving in the right direction.
The Sooners host North Carolina Central at 7 p.m. Monday.
Make sure to follow Oklahoma Sooners Basketball Examiner Mike Aikens as he dishes all the scoops on the Sooners men’s and women’s b-ball teams.