OU basketball: Jeff Capel never immersed in Oklahoma
Jeff Capel has been hired as a Duke assistant coach, and Capel gave an interview to his hometown paper, the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer. Capel talked about how he felt like he got hit by a tornado with the sudden crumbling of the Sooner basketball fortunes, which led to his firing in March.
“Growing up in North Carolina, we had hurricanes, and you could always track a hurricane,” Capel said. “You could spot where the eye was forming and see where it was headed and you could track it. But for me, the situation in Oklahoma over the past five years was like a tornado. You can’t track it. That’s what I felt like happened. We got hit with a tornado … that we just didn’t foresee coming.”
At OU, Capel worked 300 yards from the National Weather Service. That’s a literal statement; 300 yards. Five years, living in Norman and working 300 yards from the National Weather Service, and he doesn’t know you can track tornadoes? Doesn’t know that meteorologists can track tornadoes street by street. Can tell you that the tornado will be at SE 89th and Sunnylane at 5:25 p.m., and at 29th and Air Depot at 5:29 p.m., and at NE 10th and Hiwassee at 5:36 p.m.
Capel doesn’t know that? Is that how little he immersed himself in Oklahoma culture? How little he immersed himself in Oklahoma? Capel has been criticized — sometimes fairly, sometimes unfairly — for his lack of involvement with the community. That he seemed distant and detached. I always figured that was just his personality.
But not knowing something as elementary as tornado coverage? No one can spend 15 minutes in Oklahoma without becoming a tornado expert. It’s all over television. It’s a conversation piece that rivals sports. If Capel never learned about tornadoes, he wasn’t paying attention to his surroundings.
Oh well. Maybe I’m being too hard. But let’s say his premise about tornadoes is legit. He’s still mixed up. Capel was hit by tornadoes of his own making. Recruiting mistakes. Character issues. Not only can those be tracked, they most certainly HAVE to be tracked by coaches. That’s their job.
Capel recruited Tiny Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin, who brought either an NCAA investigation, a destructive attitude, a huge talent void when they skipped town or all of the above. That’s not Mother Nature’s fault. That’s the fault of whoever put trust in them.
That, you most certainly can track.
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