Salute the Sooners for offer to Tyler Neal
In spring 2004, an OU basketball scholarship came open. Kelvin Sampson decided to take a flier on David Godbold of Douglass High School.
Godbold was an excellent high school player but was not heavily recruited. The summer before his senior year, Godbold had been contacted by Arkansas-Little Rock, Colorado State and North Carolina-Wilmington but had no scholarship offers. The next spring, he had offers from Idaho, Oral Roberts, Wichita State and Texas-San Antonio. Godbold was getting ready to take a trip to Southwest Missouri State when Sampson called with a scholarship offer.
Godbold made the starting lineup as a freshman, played four years, was in the rotation his entire career and played in five NCAA Tournament games.
Sometimes you need a David Godbold. The Sooners need one now. Jeff Capel’s roster is ravaged, and one remedy is to give a scholarship to a player you know wants to be on the Sooner campus.
Enter Putnam West’s Tyler Neal, a 6-foot-6 forward who had been recruited by Oral Roberts. Neal kept his options open, and an OU offer came this week.
In recent years, we’ve taken to critiquing the in-state football recruiting practices of both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. But we might have been looking at the wrong sport.
Football is a sport in which roster stability is inherent. A couple of transfers, a couple of early pro entries, a couple of troublemakers. Experience them all and still they do not make a wasteland of the roster. They can hurt your chances of winning. They can affect depth. They do not make coaches head down to the rec center looking for walk-ons.
But that exact scenario can occur in basketball. Which is why a coach is wise to build a base of solid citizens who want a degree from that coach’s school and wants to play hoops while doing so.
Even a program as popular as Kansas, which can recruit just about any player it wants, makes a place for a guy whose talent might not be up Jayhawk standards but whose devotion to the school is unquestioned. KU’s Brady Morningstar is a Lawrence kid whose dad played for the Jayhawks.
I have no idea what kind of player Tyler Neal will be. Heck, everyone figured Taylor Griffin was one of these kind of glue guys, a guy recruited to get his brother on campus, yes, but also a guy who would be solid in the classroom and the locker room, and if he turned out to be a ballplayer, that was a bonus. Taylor Griffin currently resides on an NBA roster.
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