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Mike Sherman: OU, Mike Stoops have 'something to prove' in 2012

Mike Sherman answered questions from readers in today's Power Lunch Chat. Participate in our Power Lunch Chats Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. at
by Mike Sherman Modified: August 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm •  Published: August 6, 2012
/articleid/3698666/1/pictures/1787510">Photo - Mike Sherman, Sports Editor
Mike Sherman, Sports Editor

I'm going to say bad. Taking the the NBA/Thunder/Oklahoma City/personal brand worldwide through the Olympics is a huge benefit. Sure there's an injury risk, but as has been said many times, these guys would be playing basketball anyway. You think there wasn't an injury risk at Rucker Park when Kevin Durant dropped 60-something point and got mobbed by fans? There's risk in everything. The potential reward is far greater. I don't want to claim that as my worldview. I think about risk too, and if I was Mark Cuban I'd probably look at it like he does. But the world's greatest player, or someone who like Durant is in the discussion, belongs in the world's games, the Olympics.

Hope someone asks him soon. I'm interested to hear what he says about it after the Olympics. Hopefully Darnell Mayberry will get that chance when KD gets back from London.

Any uneasiness over OU benefiting from the Penn State scandal?

There's nothing but uneasiness about that thing. There's no way of getting around it. Which is why Justin Brown was looking for somewhere else to play despite the fact that he's one semester from graduating. Think about that for a second: The guy grew up on the Penn State sphere of influence -- Wilmington, Del. I'm from Maryland and a ton of my buddies in high school dreamed of playing at Penn State, which at that time was the only college football power in the northeastern United States. West Virginia was no factor. So Justin Brown dreamed of playing at Penn State and was on the verge of his senior season in which he would be playing in a New England Patriots' style offense. And still he leaves. Couldn't have been an easy decision.

I'd feel uneasy about it if OU had eight coaches in State College, Pa. the Monday after the NCAA announcement. That's what Illinois did and I don't care how Tim Beckman spins it, that doesn't look good. Let's see how much we can find out about OU's recruitment of Justin Brown and the mutual interest between the two. But this is a Penn State problem, not an OU problem.

Please tell Rohde that the 23 and under proposal for the Olympics is for every team, not just the US. The NBA owners aren't worried about players playing for Team USA. They are worried about the international players who are under enormous pressure to play for their own country. Those countries don't have NBA caliber training and medical staff and don't understand the implications that a nagging injury could have for a player earning millions and be forced to play when an NBA team would hold them out.

That's a good point. You're right. That's the primary stated concern. And emphasizing that concern allows them to sound better and not come off as unpatriotic. But if Kevin Durant played for Mark Cuban, do you really think he'd be calling David Stern talking about how great it was to see his franchise player playing for free? Also, the idea that international NBA players are operating under some kind of substandard medical care seems to be a slight exaggeration.

Speaking of pressure to play for their own country, hide and watch what happens in four years if a 23-and-under US team doesn't win the gold.

by Mike Sherman
Sports Editor
Mike Sherman is sports editor of The Oklahoman, where he has a combined 18 years of service during two stints as a writer and an editor. He covered high school sports for The Oklahoman from 1984-93. He also worked as a news writer for the...
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