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.
Do you think Stoops will use Trey Millard more in he RB spot next season, and do you think he should?
Yes. I would use Millard more at tailback and I think Stoops will. The only reason Stoops doesn't use Millard more at tailback is he wants Millard to be at fullback. He's a handy guy. Truth is, as long as he's on the field, I'm happy.
Your prediction for OU's 4 starters in the DB position next season?
Wow. Who knows. I will say Gary Simon, Aaron Colvin, Gabe Lynn and Julian Wilson.
Do you see any way Mangino comes back at a coaching position for OU?
Possibly. I don't think the coaching changes are finished. I could see some staff upheaval. But I think James Patton is safe. I don't understand the criticism. I thought he did a heck of a job.
Do you know much about Trevor Knight? Could he over take Bell at the QB spot?
I don't know much about Knight, except he's from San Antonio, and OU has had at least one great QB from San Antonio (Thomas Lott). I do think Knight has a decent chance to beat out Blake Bell.
Is Trey Metoyer going to be better next season, or is he possibly overrated?
To quote Jerry Jones, both. I think Metoyer will be better and be a big part of the offense. I think he's also quite possibly overrated.
Does Jaz Reynolds come back and be a factor next season? Will Trey Franks be a decent d-back?
I think Reynolds will be a contributor next year, though it will be tough to get on the field. However, I don't think Franks will be decent. Wouldn't surprise me if we've seen the last of him.
Any word on OL recruits that OU is in on?
No. Don't really follow it close enough.
What team takes Landry Jones in the draft?
I don't know. How about KC in the second round?
I gather that OU is "looking under rocks" as Pat Jones would say. Judging by the last couple of years, maybe that is not a bad thing and maybe they can find some overlooked high motor guys who can come in with a chip on their shoulder and get things turned around. It seems that OU players have lacked that chip on their shoulder attitude
I don't disagree. I'm not turned off by recruits who weren't highly sought. The chip-on-the-shoulder sometimes trumps the blue-chipper.
What is up with OU hoops? I saw them play UTEP earlier in the year and though they won that game, they didn't look good at all. Have they improved that much or are they just not playing anybody?
They are improving. I don't think there's any doubt. The young guards are getting better. Osby is playing well. M'Baye has his moments. The veterans have accepted their role. I'm starting to like their team. I don't know if it's enough to get in the NCAA Tournament, but they've got a chance.
ON THE OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS:
I am a die-hard OSU fan, but do you think all the preseason hype about OSU basketball was way off? I personally think it went to their head. You may have been a so-called high school star but this is the Big 12 and it's time to put up or shut up.
I don't think there was all that much preseason hype about OSU basketball. The Cowboys haven't done anything all that wrong. Lost two road games in the Big 12. Better start winning, but the Cowboys have some physical problems, stemming from depth, mostly.
Thoughts on the continuing ambivalence (body language, attitude, etc.) that plagues one LeBryan Nash? I realize he will continue to absorb large minutes but I really wish Ford could solve his (what appears to my eye) complacency.
You and Travis both. At some point, I think you have to accept Nash for what he is. A physically talented ballplayer whose motor is lacking. Hard to turn that on. Not impossible, but hard.
Would OSU be a legit pick to be number 1 going into the Big 12 2013 season (football)?
Absolutely. I think I will pick TCU first, but I would pick OSU second and wouldn't argue with anyone who picks the Cowboys first.
ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL AROUND THE COUNTRY:
What do you know of the reports coming out of Bowlsby stating that the Big 12 is looking into the advantages and disadvantages of expansion at their meetings at the end of the month? Wouldn't they have already discussed this issue before?
I think they discuss it every meeting. We do. Why wouldn't they? The Big 12's expansion position hasn't changed. I think the Big 12 will expand as soon as they find a candidate they think is viable. The only clear miss is Louisville. I think the Big 12 should have jumped on Louisville.
I am surprised with all of the TCU love. I like TCU, but was not impressed this year. I know their QB situation will change next year one way or another (Paschall back or Boykin experience). Are they having a grad slam signing class this year to build the depth for a legit Big 12 run?
No one ever recruited a signing class that impacted a title run that year. TCU in 2012 lost its QB in midstream, retooled and tied Baylor, Tech and West Virginia for fifth, at 4-5. They've got a ton of defensive players back and had one of the three best defenses in the league. Now Paschall is coming back at QB. I like TCU a lot.
Where does your gut say Treadwell signs?
Ole Miss. You keep hearing Mississippi, Mississippi, Mississippi.
ON THE NFL:
Who do you like in the Super Bowl?
I assume New England will win. The world is a cold, cruel place.
What are your thoughts on Dallas getting rid of Rob Ryan?
I didn't like it. I thought Ryan did a solid job in Dallas. The Cowboy defense was routed by injuries. I thought Dallas' defense played decent down the stretch. I think Jerry Jones was looking for scapegoats.
Is Chip Kelly a good fit for the Eagles?
I don't know. There seems to be a growing trend to go back to college coaches as NFL coaches. It will be interesting.
ALL THE EXTRAS:
I still can't believe Mike Sherman allowed you to blog so mercilessly about DC-area sports. ;) At least you could have put in a reference to the Wes Unseld-era Bullets. :)
The blog is my own. I can put the Communist Manifesto on there if I want.
Will you watch Oprah's interview with Lance Armstrong?
I was scheduled to watch it and write about it. But I might switch to Te'o. If so, I'll pass on Armstrong. Who cares what he says?
Do you know whatever happened to Jimbo Elrod? What is he doing these days?
He's in Tulsa and still does some radio work.