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Berry Tramel: Manti Te'o is a doofus, a shyster or something in between

The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel took questions from readers in his Power Lunch Chat today. Questions covered Manti Te'o and the dead girlfriend hoax, the OU Sooners, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the Oklahoma City Thunder and more.
Oklahoman Modified: January 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm •  Published: January 17, 2013

The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel took questions from readers in his Power Lunch Chat today. Questions covered Manti Te'o and the dead girlfriend hoax, the OU Sooners, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the Oklahoma City Thunder and more. Take a look at today's Q&A and join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports.

ON MANTI TE'O:

What's your gut feeling on the Te'o ordeal? Was he scammed or has he concocted a huge lie?

My gut says a combination of both. Seems like he very well could have been scammed, and then he played it for all it was worth, whether or not he knew the girl was real or not. When you see some of the interviews with Te'o talking about the dead girlfriend, whom he now says he never met, it's one of two things:

1. He's a psychopath, claiming that kind of connection to an Internet person; or
2. He's a shyster who knew a good story when he saw one.

I think Te’o is liar and a con artist. At best he's a simpleton. Your thoughts.

I would assume the truth is somewhere in the middle. Some mistruths, no doubt. He's either a doofus — I blogged about that this morning — or he's a shyster, and it's probably somewhere in the middle.

 

ON THE OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER AND THE NBA:

What do you think about a lineup specifically for the Heat of Russ, KD, Sefolosha, Liggins, and Ibaka? One big time defender, one high motor guy to chase Battier/Allen around, and the three studs.

I'd rather have Martin in that lineup. I wouldn't start Liggins. I'd probably start my regulars — might even put Ibaka on LeBron — and then go to the bench much earlier. The five you mentioned would be fine on the court together at some point, but I wouldn't start them. For whatever reason, changing the starting lineup messes with people's minds.

Can the Thunder reach 40 wins by the All-Star break?

I don't know. How many games until the break? 14 more? That means the Thunder has to go 9-5. I think OKC will do that. So I will say yes.

What do you think the chances the Thunder make a move before the trade deadline? If so what position seems like the most likely?

I think it's likely that OKC does make a move. I think backup point guard remains the most pressing need. A big wing — someone who can chase LeBron for 10 minutes a game — is also up there.

Liggins seems to improve the second unit. I like Reggie Jackson but he appears to be a year or two out. Is back up PG only thing piece missing?

Well, like I said, a player specifically added to help against Miami would be nice. But backup point is the prime need. Jackson played well last night, but I don't know that there's any reason to believe that will continue.

Do you think the Thunder get 60 wins this season?

Yes, OKC gets to 60 wins. I'd say somewhere around 62 wins.

PJ3 and Lamb seem to have the same position and skill set. Do you have a feeling if the organization values one more than the other?

I don't agree at all. Lamb is a shooting guard with virtually no chance of ever playing anything else. He weighs about 62 pounds. PJ3 is a hybrid forward — plays some power forward, could be a small forward in some instances. I don't know who the Thunder values more.

I enjoy watching Liggins play. That dude has a motor that won't stop and is hardly deterred by screens. He should be helpful when playing somebody like the Heat who run Ray Allen around a million screens. That will help the Thunder save Thabo from having to run so much.

I agree. Liggins can be a valuable 10-minute-a-game guy. He takes over the Daequan Cook role, except Cook came in to score, Liggins comes in to stop foes from scoring.

When the Thunder play well, they are a sight to behold. When Russ and KD get going, that is poetry in motion.

When KD and Westbrook both are hot, the Thunder is nigh near unbeatable. Or just when Westbrook is hot. Because even when Westbrook is not hot, he can do so many other things that OKC is hard to beat. When he's hitting, wow.

For whatever reason, Scotty still doesn't seem to have a lot of trust in Reggie and seems to almost have training wheels on him. Sure he makes some mistakes, but not egregious. In my opinion Reggie is a perfectly capable backup point, and he is still improving.

How much trust do you want Scotty Brooks to have in Jackson? He's given him the job and a decent amount of minutes. Jackson is a herky-jerky point guard. I don't see a lot of ball distribution.

Talk of a midseason Thunder trade concerns me for chemistry reasons. Hope they don't screw that up. But it’s obvious that Maynor is so deep in the doghouse he's not coming out. A trade of him plus one of our newcomers (excluding Perry Jones III) might work. What do you think?

I trotted out Maynor, Jones and the Dallas draft pick for J.J. Barea. Don't know if Minnesota would do it, but it would greatly improve the Thunder. Chemistry issues are no big deal. Trade in mid-February, and you've got seven weeks to adjust, then the playoffs, which last 6-8 weeks if you keep winning.

 

ON THE OKLAHOMA SOONERS:

How is OU’s recruiting really going? What stars are these last 3 commitments? I know that does not mean a lot but it is still fun to see. When will be the next press conference for Stoops?

Stoops' next press conference will be Feb. 6, signing day. I have no idea how OU's recruiting is going. I can tell you right now how OU's recruiting went in 2010 — not very well. Too early to talk a lot about 2011 and too early to talk about 2012. That makes 2013 totally fantasy.

Will Tyler Evans regain his starting role for the 2013 season?

Excellent question. I assume so. Adam Shead stays hurt. Bronson Irwin played solid, but I think there's playing time to be had. I don't know if Tyler Evans can shift to tackle, but that's open, too.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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