KRUGER HAPPY WITH NEW RULES
Oklahoma's Lon Kruger, like many college basketball coaches around the country, is thrilled with the opportunity to work with his players over the summer, per the new NCAA rules.
The measure, approved in January, allows student-athletes enrolled in summer school to work with their coaches for up to two hours per day, eight hours per week.
“Even more importantly, perhaps, than working with them is that ability to be around them,” Kruger said during Thursday's Big 12 coaches teleconference. “Especially with the new guys coming in, to establish that relationship and maintain that contact consistency throughout the summer.
“Sometimes during the summer, you don't really see them that often. This will give us the opportunity to do that on a more consistent basis and I think as important as the coaching aspect with the basketball is just the time you're spending with them.”
M'BAYE READY TO PLAY
Forward Amath M'Baye made lots of progress during his season off last year, and might start for the Sooners as a junior, Kruger said.
M'Baye, from France, played two seasons at Wyoming before transferring to Oklahoma last April.
As a sophomore at Wyoming, he started 31 games, averaging 12 points and 5.7 rebounds.
“Amath took good advantage of that year in just expanding his game,” Kruger said. “At Wyoming, his real strength was that midrange wide post-up. He worked really hard at improving his ball handling and his ability to make plays off the dribble.”
Even though OU returns all five starters from last season, Kruger said M'Baye could earn a starting position.
“I expect he'll be fully in the running to start,” Kruger said. “It's going to be wide open and the battle is going to be a little more competitive internally. We return all of our starters from last year, but I could well see it being a different starting lineup from a year ago.”
INCOMING SENIORS WANT POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE
Oklahoma's seniors-to-be haven't experienced the college basketball postseason, and Kruger said the group wants to change that in 2012-13.
“This group is pretty motivated,” Kruger said. “They've finished three years where we haven't been in the tournament. They're motivated to make a step and experience what it is like to play in the postseason.”
Kruger said he thinks an NCAA Tournament berth next season is a reachable goal.
“Goals for most teams in the country are to earn a postseason bid, and more specifically, the priority being the NCAA Tournament bid,” Kruger said. “That should be a goal for this team, and I think it's realistic.
“The conference is tough, and our guys know that, but having that as a goal is what we'll start with and hopefully make progress from there.”
OU finished last season, Kruger's first, with a 15-16 overall record and a 5-13 mark in Big 12 play.