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Berry Tramel: Thunder has a good chance to win the Western Conference

The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel took questions from readers in today’s Power Lunch Chat. Take a look at today’s Q&A and join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports.
by Berry Tramel Modified: April 11, 2013 at 3:50 pm •  Published: April 11, 2013
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The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel took questions from readers in today’s Power Lunch Chat. Take a look at today’s Q&A and join our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on NewsOK.com/Sports.

Berry Tramel 10:55 a.m. Hey, everybody. I'm up and running. So send in your questions and we'll get started in just a moment.
Tim 10:59 a.m. First I'd like to say that I love listening to you on the Sports Animal in the afternoons. In your opinion,what is the Thunder's biggest need in the upcoming draft?
Berry Tramel 11:00 a.m. Oh, nothing pressing. I'd take the best player available. A shooter/scorer from the wing. A big man to defend, if there is one but probably isn't. I don't think they need a backup point guard anymore.
Dave 11:00 a.m. Are you getting your champagne and every ready for a celebration? (I know it's a little early) But still, go ahead and start preparing for parade in Downtown Oklahoma. ;)
Berry Tramel 11:00 a.m. I say we put the Thunder on boats and parade them through the canal.
max c 11:00 a.m. what will you be looking for the most saturday in norman?
Berry Tramel 11:02 a.m. Quarterbacks. No reason to pretend otherwise. How do those guys throw. We can't see the running ability -- it doesn't count when you can't get tackled -- but we can see how they can throw.
max c 11:02 a.m. do you think there will be any fallout with stoops statement about not paying players? i personnally believe in everything he said
Berry Tramel 11:02 a.m. Oh, he'll catch some flak for it. And he needs to watch his bedside manner. Stoops is fundamentally correct, but you've got to be a little more sensitive to the subject matter.
max c 11:03 a.m. can you update me on the job status of the coaches ou let go?
Berry Tramel 11:04 a.m. Jackie Shipp is the d-line coach at Arizona State. James Patton joined the staff at Indiana, doing a variety of things. Bruce Kittle, I don't know.
Jay 11:04 a.m. What was the reason for the Astros becoming an AL team? I didn't know about it until I was looking at the standings and saw them in the AL. I'll bet die hard NL (read no DH) fans are fuming.
Berry Tramel 11:05 a.m. The reason was to balance the divisions. We had a division in the AL with four teams (West) and a division in the NL with six. That didn't seem fair to me. So they moved Houston to the AL and balanced out things. It creates the need for constant interleague play, but what's wrong with that?
Jay 11:05 a.m. OK 6A football: the split is horrible in my opinion. If they wanted to shake things up, bump the lower 10-12 teams in each class down and let it play out from there. Disappointed in the watered down Division II 6A. Everyone needs an easier chance at a gold ball I guess.
Berry Tramel 11:07 a.m. You're telling it straight. Everything you said is true. Bumping teams down is fine. But we don't need this 6A-NIT division. Here's another way to look at it. The biggest 96 schools in Oklahoma will play for four state championships. That's an average of 24 teams per class. What a joke.
Jay 11:07 a.m. Who wins the west now thas SA and OKC are tied?
Berry Tramel 11:07 a.m. I think the Thunder has it. They're tied. OKC has the tiebreaker. The Thunder has a little easier schedule. And the Spurs don't seem interested in winning.
Patrick 11:07 a.m. Liked your column on OSU scheduling. As an OSU season ticket holder, I would much rather pay to see some of the teams they cancelled recently like Clemson and NC State than Savannah St and Lamar. I know the Miss St and Fla St games are more about money and exposure, but I'd still rather see home-and-home series with teams like that.
Berry Tramel 11:08 a.m. I'm with you. Putting good games on campus should be the goal of athletic departments. Basketball and football.
Patrick 11:08 a.m. I'm still a little confused about the deadline for announcing and/or backing out of an announcement for the NBA draft. Can you clarify that?
Berry Tramel 11:10 a.m. Yes. The deadline for entering your name is April 28. The deadline for withdrawing your name is June 17, though if you wait that long, your old school is going to be hacked off, because they've given away your scholarship.
Dave 11:10 a.m. And you will be the head of that boat? :)
Berry Tramel 11:10 a.m. I'll probably be outside Sonic, leaning against the fence drinking a cherry root beer.
okie 11:11 a.m. Its widely accepted that OU fan base is generally much bigger than OSU's, why does the DOK treat them as equals? If the fan base is 70-30 shouldnt the coverage be the same?
Berry Tramel 11:15 a.m. I would say the coverage is not equal in terms of amount of content. We clearly cover OU more than we cover OSU. We do the same general things for both schools, in terms of day to day content and game coverage. But we write more about OU football, especially in terms of history -- anniversaries, deaths of past players, those kinds of things. I can tell you that I blog more about OU than I do OSU, though I blog about both quite a bit. And by the way, we get all kinds of questions from OSU fans, wondering why we are giving OU more coverage. Here's the truth. Fans like to gripe. If nothing hits them right between the eyes to gripe about, they go looking for something.
Brian 11:15 a.m. Thoughts on Class 6A schools voting to split into two divisions for football? To me, it feels like "Hey, let's give everyone a participation ribbon!"
Berry Tramel 11:16 a.m. YOU'RE ALL WINNERS! You're exactly right. It's nonsense. I actually support trimming 6A, but not with the creation of another class. If you want only 16 schools in 6A, fine. Take the next 16 and add them to 5A. Or part of 5A. The last thing we need is another class. Here's what we will have when this is implemented: NINE STATE CHAMPIONS IN FOOTBALL.
Dave 11:16 a.m. If cherry root beer is you'll be drinking to celebrate the championship then that's cheap, lol
Berry Tramel 11:17 a.m. Schedule the parade in the afternoon, and it's happy hour at Sonic. Half price.
Al 11:17 a.m. Can you tell us a little bit about how Bob Stoops' manner or personality with the media has evolved over the years?
Berry Tramel 11:17 a.m. Oh, he's more testy and less forthcoming than in the old days. Happens to the best of 'em. He gets tired of the local media -- which again, happens to the best of 'em.
Your Name 11:17 a.m. How much of the change in the coaching staff at OU was just a general need to show that Stoops is taking the downturn in OU's fortunes seriously, and how much of it was specifically targeted at better recruiting? Can we expect a return to being a top 5 recruiting team with the current staff? If so, how long would we have to wait to see that given the time it takes for coaches to build relationships on the high school level?
Berry Tramel 11:18 a.m. I'd say it's about half and half. I assume Stoops was not happy with the recruiting, but he also made a change for change sake. Just to show that he's not all that happy with the way things are going, either. Who knows if or when OU will get back in gear. The Sooners aren't that far off from where they were, but they are a little. Clearly.
Tim 11:19 a.m. Why isn't Denver getting more respect with regards to playoffs chances? Even with their current injuries, they are one of the hottest teams right now.
Berry Tramel 11:19 a.m. If Ty Lawson doesn't come back healthy,. Denver is dead. Doornail dead. And losing Gallinari won't help, either. Too many injury concerns to get excited about the Nuggets just yet.
Brian 11:21 a.m. Mike Gundy complained about OSU's maybe scheduling too tough of non-conference teams as a reason to leave for Tennessee. Has he not seen Tennessee's conference schedule? That alone is pretty tough to go through every year to play for a national title.
Berry Tramel 11:22 a.m. Gundy was just talking. He wasn't leaving OSU for Tennessee or Arkansas. He was just trying to gain some leverage.
Brian 11:23 a.m. Did Gundy gain leverage or did Holder call his bluff?
Berry Tramel 11:23 a.m. I don't know if Holder called his bluff, but Gundy gained no leverage. He just made his bosses mad.
Your Name 11:24 a.m. How huge do you think it is that all three of OU QB's have the potential to start? Do you think that with Landry coming back for his Sr year helped the back ups get some extra reps in I kinda get the feeling that that is the way it is going i guess we will see a little bit Saturday.
Berry Tramel 11:25 a.m. Well, I don't know what it means. Having the potental to start could mean you've got three really talented guys, or it could mean you don't have one guy that stands out. Landry coming back took reps away from these guys, so I don't see how that helped them. Helped OU, but not them.
Thomas 11:25 a.m. Berry, KD took 10 shots on Tuesday, Please explain, Thanks
Berry Tramel 11:25 a.m. Well, the last few minutes he was passing like crazy, trying to get his triple double. And early, he wasn't forcing it, which is fine. I like it when Ibaka and Thabo get some shots.
Brian 11:26 a.m. Possibility that the WCWS moves to Hoover, Ala.?
Berry Tramel 11:26 a.m. I'd say slim, but you never know.
okie 11:29 a.m. is nash or brown leaving with smart? how far will osu fall if 2 out of the 3 leave?
Berry Tramel 11:29 a.m. Well, Brown would hurt. Nash is staying, I believe. But Brown would hurt. OSU should still be really good if Brown returns. I'd say top-3 Big 12. But without Brown, could be middle of the pack.
Berry Tramel 11:30 a.m. OK, good questions. Talk to you next week.

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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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