Jenni Carlson

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Jenni Carlson chat: Travis Ford's future, who the Thunder misses more and the OU backfield mix

by Jenni Carlson Published: March 25, 2014
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NewsOK Sports 10:28 a.m. Thanks for joining the Power Lunch chat today. Jenni will be on at 11 a.m., but keep those questions coming in. In the meantime, here's Jenni's column from last night's Thunder win. KD made it look easy once again and Magic Johnson is right: http://bit.ly/1h40L4f
Jenni Carlson 11:00 a.m. Lots to discuss! Let's get to it.
Spud 11:01 a.m. Who will be the biggest surprise of the 2014 incoming recruits in football?
Jenni Carlson 11:01 a.m. Well, I'm not sure if we're talking OU or OSU or both or something else entirely, but I'll go with the locals. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:02 a.m. At OSU, I'd say Mason Rudolph will make the biggest impact. Don't know if that will be a surprise, but as a true freshman playing quarterback, being good is rare. From what I hear, it seems that Rudolph has the chance to be one of those rare true freshmen who can make an impact at that position. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:03 a.m. As for OU, I don't know that I think there will be any great surprises among the incoming players, but it sounds to me like Joe Mixon has a chance to be a big-time impact player right away. And again, you just don't find many true freshmen who are able to do that. And from the looks of things, he has the physical tools to be dominant at the RB position. Again, not normal for freshmen.
Greg 11:03 a.m. With the Thunder winning last night, it appears it was a concerted effort by most players, including the Thunder's center and 2nd unit point guard, Reggie Jackson, can the other young players be coached and taught by Brooks and his cohorts to play instinctively rather than according to the coaches demands, can you elaborate on this farther?
Jenni Carlson 11:04 a.m. Um, I have to admit, I'm not entirely sure what you're asking here, Greg. I think this is a question about developing talent, and if you are wondering whether the Thunder coaches can develop talent, all you need to do is look at the players on the floor. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:05 a.m. Durant. Westbrook. Serge. Jackson. Perry. The list goes on and on of players who've been developed in the Thunder system. Those guys are products of Brooks and Co. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:05 a.m. So, do I think younger players can be developed by this staff? Darn right I do.
Greg 11:05 a.m. Adams played with 10 point, 7 rebounds and 6 steals, is Steven playing also instinctively, just like Reggie and KD, if they want to play their game, care to give your comments?
Jenni Carlson 11:06 a.m. It looks to me like Adams is getting more comfortable like Reggie is. But it's going to take time for him to get to be as instinctive as Reggie or Durant or the rest of the starters. The rest of them have way more experience than he does as a rookie. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:06 a.m. Do I think Adams can get there? Sure. But it comes with experience, and the only way you get experience is over time. It will take time.
Guest 11:06 a.m. The Thunder as we know can play very good basketball, without three (3) veterans, Westbrook, Perkins and Thabo and solidifies Durant on his MVP race by him carrying the ball club all alone, how did Durant motivate his teammates to support him and is he happy to survive without the three veterans?
Jenni Carlson 11:07 a.m. I agree that what Durant has done without several starters has helped his argument for MVP. But there's no way he wants to go into the playoffs without those guys. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:08 a.m. We saw how tough it was last year without Westbrook in the playoffs, and it would be tough again without him. It would be tough, too, without defensive help from Thabo and Perk. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:08 a.m. The Thunder might survive a series without those three, but there'd be no way they'd make the West Finals much less the NBA Finals.
Guest 11:08 a.m. Hello Jenni!
Jenni Carlson 11:08 a.m. Hey, Guest! Happy you're here. :)
Guest 11:08 a.m. The Heat and the Pacers are somewhat derailed in their quest for the title, but the Thunder's huddle still remains on several teams like; Spurs, Grizzlies and Clippers, maybe the Warriors, how would Brooks in your opinion handle moving through the play-offs on these teams?
Jenni Carlson 11:09 a.m. I've read this question three times, and I'm not sure I get it, but I'll try to answer. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:09 a.m. First of all, the Heat and Pacers may not be playing great ball right now, but one of those two teams will win the East and play in the Finals. Mark my words. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:10 a.m. As for the Thunder, I'm not sure what you mean by the Thunder's huddle still remains ... that just doesn't compute in my head. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:11 a.m. But here's the truth: the West is going to be an absolute battle ground. Every series in the West is going to be tough because there are about 10 pretty darn good teams in the West. So, no matter who the Thunder plays in the first round, semis or finals, it's going to be a tough road.
Greg 11:11 a.m. How does Brook handle the other two young players, Perry Jones and Lamb, to get out of that structured instruction of their coaches and just play the way they do to get comfortable in the game and not stiff, your thoughts?
Jenni Carlson 11:12 a.m. Greg, they have to play within the structure of the offense and the defense. Everyone does. Frankly, not playing within the team on defense is the thing that's probably causing those two playing time most right now. You have to do your job. Period. Or you sit. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:12 a.m. But much like Adams, reacting instead of thinking about every little thing just takes time. These guys are still in their NBA infancy. That is just a fact. Give them time. They'll be fine.
Guest 11:13 a.m. Would you suggest to Brooks that let Adams play the way like he did against the Piston getting 17 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 block shots, 7-10 shooting in 30 minutes with 5 fouls?
Jenni Carlson 11:13 a.m. I don't think that's Scott Brooks' choice. Playing like that is Steven Adams' choice. That Detroit game was his best of the season. It's up to him to be that aggressive and at the top of his game every night. Also remember that Detroit stinks. You might score 17 on them, Greg.
Earl 11:14 a.m. 1 tourney win in 6 years, average rank # 7 in big 12, top 5 team to almost missing tourney- I know ford is owed a lot of money but how long until he is gone?
Jenni Carlson 11:14 a.m. My two cents: he gets another year to right the ship. If he does, maybe they keep him around. If he doesn't, he's gone. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:15 a.m. There are definitely problems with his coaching. Some of the in-game stuff just isn't good. But there are things that he does well. So, does Holder look at the good or the bad? Right now, I believe he still looks at the good. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:16 a.m. And here's my question right now for OSU: if you fire Ford, who are you hiring? Is there an OBVIOUS guy that could be brought in? And I'm not sure you can get a Gregg Marshall or a Shaka Smart. Those guys are already making good bank where they are and they are looking for prime prime prime jobs. I'm just not sure who you hire if you fire Ford right now.
Guest 11:16 a.m. Is the Thunder a jump shooting team and as far as Barkley, jump shooting team cannot win the title, is he correct and what to do about it?
Jenni Carlson 11:17 a.m. Do they shoot jumpers? Sure. But tell me how the Thunder is vastly different in that than the Heat? LeBron and Wade get to the basket, but so do KD and Russ. Bosh isn't a back-to-the-basket big man. Neither is Serge. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:18 a.m. Seems to me that the Heat has done just fine with that collection of players. Why would the Thunder not be able to win a title with a similar collection?
Guest 11:18 a.m. Will next years sooner basketball team be more competitive in the ncaa tournament?
Jenni Carlson 11:18 a.m. Could they be less competitive? ...
Jenni Carlson 11:19 a.m. Seriously, though, my feeling is that OU will be better next year. Lots of young guys who are really talented coming back. And you have to think that this year will be fuel. ND State got BLITZ in its next game. But OU lost to it? Surely, that will be motivation to the Sooners.
Guest 11:19 a.m. What is the current status of the injured Thunder players?
Jenni Carlson 11:19 a.m. Progressing, but no definite return date. They have yet to practice or participate in shoot around.
Guest 11:19 a.m. If we were to believe that Westbrook will not be playing every game and it continues till the play offs, is it better for the team (mentally0 to just play without Westbrook every game and not worry for him being back and out and Brooks play his young guns more like, Adams, Jones III and Jeremy Lamb?
Jenni Carlson 11:20 a.m. The only games that Russ won't play are when they are part of a back-to-back. It's just in an attempt to get him as fresh as possible for the playoffs. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:20 a.m. And no, it wouldn't be for the best to play every game without him. Teams need to start rounding into playoff form in the coming weeks. Having Russ out there is part of that, so he needs to play as much as he can. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:22 a.m. Same for Thabo and Perk. Getting them back and folding them back into the rotation will be important. Is PT for younger guys good? Sure. But this team doesn't win a title this year because of younger guys. It wins because of Russ, KD, Serge, Thabo, Perk ... so those guys need to be on the floor together the last few weeks of the season to start building momentum toward the playoffs.
Guest 11:22 a.m. The only good thing that happened this year compared to last year, is Brooks at least played his young core (Adams, Lamb, PJIII) more often, that hasten their development this year, in preparation for unforeseen injuries to Westbrook, Thabo and Perkins, would you agree on my comments?
Jenni Carlson 11:22 a.m. The only good thing? This team has won 51 games! 51! And is in great position in the West! And is a contender for the title! ...
Jenni Carlson 11:22 a.m. The only good thing? Give me a break.
Guest 11:22 a.m. Can you honestly say that the Thunder are in good position for the play offs or other huddles remain?
Jenni Carlson 11:23 a.m. What the heck does "other huddle remain" mean? I'm so confused, Guest. So confused. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:23 a.m. They've won 51 games. KD is playing out of his mind. Russ is rounding into form. Thabo and Perk are on the mend. Serge, Reggie and Butler look better and better every day. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:24 a.m. So, yes, I'd HONESTLY say that the Thunder is in good position.
Robin Marsh 11:24 a.m. What do you think is Bob Hoffman's next move? #cheeringforthehometownguy
Jenni Carlson 11:24 a.m. I'm not sure, but it's a great question. Mercer seems to have been good to him, so maybe he stays there awhile. But whatever he does, he deserves to be happy. He seems like a really good guy.
Guest 11:24 a.m. Any idea why the Heat and Pacers are in a funk?
Jenni Carlson 11:25 a.m. It's a long season. Sometimes you hit slumps. Players get tired physically and mentally. Those two teams are still really good.
osu bob 11:25 a.m. with osu football going down hill, the basketball team with another 8th place finish and a 1 and done in the tournament, the baseball team losing more and more, the wrestling team hasn't won a championship in over 4 years is OSU now becoming the next UCONN or TENN just a women's basketball school?
Jenni Carlson 11:26 a.m. Well, I'm not sure getting to the Sweet 16 for the first time in a long while makes OSU a women's basketball school, but big-time congrats to the Cowgirls. Winning on someone else's home floor is never easy, and they made it look like it was.
Guest 11:26 a.m. Who do you think the Thunder Defense misses more, Thabo Sefolosha or Kendrick Perkins?
Jenni Carlson 11:26 a.m. Perk. He not only affects the other team. He impacts the Thunder. I truly believe the Thunder players play better defense when he's on the floor because they don't want to make him mad.
Brooks Thompson 11:26 a.m. If TFord gets the ax- who do you like taking his job?
Jenni Carlson 11:27 a.m. Not you, Brooks. Sorry, but if you can't big at UTSA, you're not ready to coach OSU.
Brad James 11:27 a.m. Hello Jenni, how about my Mavericks upsetting the Thunder tonight? Thanks for sending the link out on Twitter, can't believe I didn't follow you sooner, silly me
Jenni Carlson 11:28 a.m. Seems possible, Brad, but after what the Mavs did to the Thunder last time, I have to think OKC will be out to exact a little revenge. Personal pride is on the line. I like OKC, but clearly, Dallas had their number earlier this season.
Guest 11:28 a.m. Jenni, should I be concerned about Westbrooks health going into the playoffs?
Jenni Carlson 11:29 a.m. I'd be as concerned about his health as you are about any other player's health. I don't think his knee is going to hold him back. I really don't. Could it get hurt again? Sure. But KD could sprain an ankle, too. Injuries happen, but I truly believe that as Russ' knee is right now, it won't be a problem in the playoffs.
Ramon 11:29 a.m. Do you believe Kieth Ford will be the guy for OU next season? I'm also curious if Joe Mixon will receive any playing time as well.
Jenni Carlson 11:30 a.m. Keith Ford will definitely get some run, but Joe Mixon sounds like the real deal. Wouldn't be surprised to see Ford start the season as the starter, then Mixon move into that role as the year goes on. Sort of like Adrian Peterson did.
Steve 11:30 a.m. Love your work Jenni!
Jenni Carlson 11:30 a.m. Thanks much, Steve!
osu bob 11:30 a.m. to you is it "senior night" or is it "last year in the program night"?
Jenni Carlson 11:30 a.m. Seems like it's turned into "last year in the program night", doesn't it? Everyone does it now. It's weird to me, but hey, whatever.
Greg Allman 11:30 a.m. Do you have to be named Greg to get a question answered?
Jenni Carlson 11:31 a.m. Or OSU Bob. Or Guest. Or Steve. I just answer 'em as they come in!
MB 11:31 a.m. Ok enough basketball . . . MLB opening day is right around the corner and lots of us are baseball fans first. Your predictions for who wins the two pennants and goes to the World Series?
Jenni Carlson 11:31 a.m. Baseball's starting? I hadn't heard. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:31 a.m. Seriously, could baseball shoot itself in the foot any more than it does? Opening during March Madness? Then sending the first real games to Australia? ...
Jenni Carlson 11:32 a.m. Until baseball gets serious about handling its business better, I refuse to get serious about it. Sorry, MB, but that's the truth. I grew up loving baseball. It was my first love. But it needs serious help.
Guest 11:32 a.m. Do you think Adams will continue to start when Perk comes back?
Jenni Carlson 11:32 a.m. Nope.
Guest 11:32 a.m. Do you do interviews with the Thunder team and Presti?
Jenni Carlson 11:32 a.m. Whenever I get the chance.
CowboyWay 11:32 a.m. Do you think Nash returns next year? Where will the pokes finish in the Big 12?
Jenni Carlson 11:33 a.m. Gut reaction: yes to Nash, upper half in the Big 12.
osu bob 11:33 a.m. you don't think OSU bball is a prime prime prime job? But Eddie brought the program back? we renovated GIA?
Jenni Carlson 11:34 a.m. It's not prime prime prime like some jobs. Kansas. Kentucky. Duke. Arizona. UNC. Florida. I could go on. Sorry, but that's the truth.
Jerry 11:34 a.m. I don't think the Sooners can be competitive in the NCAA tournament until they can recruit more taller and physical players.
Jenni Carlson 11:34 a.m. Everybody wants taller players, but 7-footers don't grow on trees.
Guest 11:34 a.m. Is there anything to be made out of Russell always sitting at the end of the bench? Perhaps it's nothing, but it gives me the perception that he's avoiding something/someone. He's always involved and cheering the team, but it gives me the impression of the trouble-maker sitting in the last row of the bus
Jenni Carlson 11:34 a.m. Nah, that just seems to be where he sits.
ThundartheBarbarian 11:34 a.m. Some sights have the Thunder interested in Markel Brown. Thoughts?
Jenni Carlson 11:35 a.m. He definitely could fit into that "Thunder mold". Would be interesting to see how his game would develop even more with the Thunder.
ThundartheBarbarian 11:35 a.m. Will the Thunder amnesty Perk next year?
Jenni Carlson 11:35 a.m. Possibly. They need to be sure Adams is ready to be a full-time starter before they do that, and I'm not sure they think he's there just yet.
Ken 11:35 a.m. Shouldn't men's college bb cut the shot clock to at least 30 seconds? After watching NBA, it's pretty boring. Even the women have a 30 second clock.
Jenni Carlson 11:35 a.m. I'd love a shorter shot clock. Sign me up for that.
harry man 11:35 a.m. is my man Thabeet still with the team? watch last night game and did not see him. what happen
Jenni Carlson 11:36 a.m. Had a personal issue to attend to. I believe he'll miss tonight, too.
ThundartheBarbarian 11:36 a.m. What do you think of Butler's play with the Thunder. Do you think we sign him?
Jenni Carlson 11:36 a.m. Oh, to a long-term deal? Perhaps. The money will have to be right, but the way he's playing has been superb. He's fit right in seamlessly.
Brad James 11:36 a.m. how is Tulsa going to do next season in the American Athletic Conference? Can the football team continue to improve, any other Damaris Johnson/Charles Clay-esque studs out there?
Jenni Carlson 11:37 a.m. Tulsa football? Gee, I haven't even thought about how OU and OSU football will fare. Get back to me in a few months.
Guest 11:37 a.m. Since OSU has won 3 Big 12 conference championships (mens) this year and OU has zero, do you think osu Bob has his schools mixed up?
Jenni Carlson 11:37 a.m. I'm trusting your math on this one, Guest, but perhaps OSU Bob needed to be reminded. :)
CowboyWay 11:37 a.m. Have you watched Kolar play? just wondering what kind of QB the pokes are getting?
Jenni Carlson 11:37 a.m. Nope. Sorry.
harry man 11:38 a.m. who is your final 4 and winning it all
Jenni Carlson 11:38 a.m. I have Florida playing Arizona in the title game, and the Gators winning it. Can't remember who my other finalists are. They probably got beat in the first round, the way my bracket was.
harry man 11:38 a.m. Dallas 113 thunder up 108
Jenni Carlson 11:38 a.m. Could be. I'll go Thunder 109, Mavs 103
Brad James 11:39 a.m. the networks should let you and Sam Gannon serve as sideline reporters during March Madness, Oklahoma media lady know their sports, I'm learning quite well
Jenni Carlson 11:39 a.m. I prefer the written word, Brad, but thanks for the kind words. And yes, Sam is a good egg!
ThundartheBarbarian 11:39 a.m. Will the Thunder re sign Thabo?
Jenni Carlson 11:39 a.m. If the money's right and Thabo wants to be here. The Thunder wants him to stay, I believe, but if he wants to go somewhere else or wants to much money, they'll move on.
Guest 11:39 a.m. So you dodged the MLB question....mean you have no idea ?
Jenni Carlson 11:40 a.m. I have given it zero thought, yes. I just don't care about baseball anymore, so for me to say who I think it will be? Well, I don't care, so going through the motions of picking favorites would do no one any good.
Steve 11:40 a.m. OU has won a Big 12 title this year, get your facts correct
Jenni Carlson 11:41 a.m. In what? Not in football or basketball or XC or wrestling ... I can't come up with one.
Steve 11:42 a.m. That was for the Guest, not you Jenni.
Jenni Carlson 11:42 a.m. I know, but still, I can't come up with one, Steve. Sorry, but I can't.
Steve 11:42 a.m. Gymnastics
Jenni Carlson 11:42 a.m. That's not Big 12. That's Mountain Something Something Conference. I can't remember the name, but it's not Big 12.
Steve 11:42 a.m. Huh?
Jenni Carlson 11:43 a.m. Seriously. The Big 12 doesn't do men's gymnastics titles. The Big 12 schools that have men's gymnastics compete in some other hybrid conference.
Jenni Carlson 11:44 a.m. OK, folks, I've got to run. Sorry to not get to every question, but we went overtime to get to a bunch. Be sure to join Anthony Slater for tomorrow's Power Lunch. He'll have all your Thunder talk.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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