The Oklahoman's Mike Baldwin answered questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Participate in our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. at NewsOK.com/sports.
On whether or not Steven Pledger can keep up his scoring once conference play starts:
It might be difficult to average 19.5 points in league play. Pledger is patient but the OU staff and his teammates make sure to set screens to try and get him open since he currently has the highest FG pct. in the country (over 60 percent) for any guard. And if defenses concentrate too much on Pledger there are three or four other players capable of scoring 15 or more points any game.
On who the best dunker on the OU men’s basketball team is:
Cameron Clark, without question, has the best highlight reel dunks. He's had some tomahawk (sp) dunks this year that have been spectacular, including a windmill dunk. Osby can throw it down. M'Baye, the Wyoming transfer who is sitting out this season, is a great dunker but I haven't seen enough of him to compare him. Tyler Neal is highly underrated for his athleticism. Neal was voted the team's best dunker last season. I'd go with Clark but they have a lot of really good dunkers.
On the differences between Lon Kruger and Jeff Capel:
The biggest difference is Kruger is trying to utilize this team's strengths on the perimeter more. He's picked up the tempo and tries to trap defensively, whether it's in the half court or occasional full court.
Also keep in mind Romero Osby has provided much needed rebounding and Sam Grooms gives the Sooners a much needed steady point guard. Both players would have been here if Capel had stayed.
Without question, Kruger is a veteran coach who preaches hard work, fundamentals and can flat out coach. But this team would have improved under Capel since it has more experience and more weapons. Still, Kruger is nearing 500 wins for a reason. He's a better coach. How well the Sooners would have played under Capel, or his style, is unknown.
On predictions for the Insight Bowl and the future of Mike Stoops at OU:
I picked OU 31-20 in the paper last week but that was before Iowa suspended Coker, the second leading rusher in the Big Ten. Without Coker, who could have helped control the game on the ground, possibly forcing OU's offense to watch from the sidelines, the Hawkeyes simply don't have many offensive weapons to test the Sooners like Baylor or Oklahoma State.
Concerning Mike Stoops joining the staff, most believe that's a distinct possibility, although Bob Stoops on Monday said he's happy with his current staff but indicated you never know what positions might open up if one of his assistants leave.
The $64 million question is if no one leaves does Stoops bring Mike in and fire an assistant for the first time in his career? Stay tuned.
On whether there’s truth to the rumor that Lon Kruger has open practices at OU:
Yes. They're open. Sometimes groups attend. Individuals are welcome. Just call the basketball office and they'll tell you the time and place (Lloyd Noble or practice gym). And you'll be guaranteed to meet Kruger after practice. He always thanks everyone that attends.