OU basketball: Recruiting a delicate balance
Jeff Capel says he doesn’t plan to change the recruiting philosophy of Oklahoma basketball. Doesn’t plan to stop going after some of the nation’s best players, even in the wake of the disaster that has struck the Sooners.
That’s not surprising. Coaches are slow to admit they’re downgrading their recruiting aspirations. Kelvin Sampson rarely signed the elite blue-chippers but bristled when asked about not chasing the nation’s best players.
Sampson would say something very close to what Capel said Friday: “Our philosophy is not going to change.”
Capel holds to that plan even after the defections of this off-season, when point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin left school to turn pro even though he’s clearly not an NBA prospect at this time, and center Tiny Gallon wants to do the same despite a freshman season that could be classified only as disappointing.
Recruiting high school all-Americans can work out famously. Blake Griffin and Willie Warren are examples A and B. For all the disappointment surrounding Warren’s sophomore season, he was a fabulous freshman who helped put the Sooners in the NCAA regional final. And Big Blake was a home run, even if he stayed only two years.
The problem is not just the one-year-and-done culture. The problem is the one-year-accomplishing-nothing-and-done culture. All those Kentucky freshmen who are turning pro? They reestablished the Wildcats as an NCAA power, spending time as a No. 1-ranked team. Only a big upset kept them out of the Final Four.
Contrast that with OU. If Mason-Griffin and Gallon had helped the Sooners make the Sweet 16, had played hard and well, then you sort of have to pat them on the back and say thanks. But to turn pro after this kind of season, a year in which they couldn’t guard the inside-outside duo at Texas Tech but now want to guard Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green, well, that’s just silly.
Which makes this all a delicate balance. Recruit the best players you can recruit. But be judicious. Don’t recruit guys who can upset your culture. Don’t recruit guys who don’t fit your philosophy.
Mason-Griffin and Gallon wouldn’t have lasted a month playing for Sampson. Either they would have changed or they would have been gone.
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 28939Read live updates from the May 20 Moore tornado
- 26978Oklahoma devastated by second round of twisters
- 12196Several kids pulled out of Oklahoma school rubble alive
- 11468How to help tornado victims
- 10241At least 51 die in Oklahoma tornado, official says
- 5720Police: School near OKC directly hit by tornado
- 5000Oklahoma City tornado so large, may not be recognized, officials say
- 2753Oklahoma twister tracked path of 1999 tornado
- 2336Tornado in Oklahoma City suburb causes destruction
- 2282Oklahoma weather: Crews work to clear storm damage in Oklahoma City as the state braces for severe weather Sunday.
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients