Senior forward Romero Osby went through his first round of NCAA Tournament interviews as a Sooner on Thursday.
Osby and his teammates answered questions about their expectations and thoughts on their game against San Diego State that tips at 8:20 p.m. Friday.
As Osby got up from the interview, he attempted to take the name placard that identified him to the media.
“My dad is always like, ‘Don't miss out on these memories. If you've got a chance to grab something with your name on it or your picture on it, grab it because these are memories you'll be able to put in your memorabilia when you get older,'” Osby said. “So, that's the first thing I thought about when I saw my tag.”
He took one from the Big 12 Championships, too. But he'll have to wait on his one from the NCAA Tournament.
“They said we can get it after the weekend is over,” Osby said. “So I'll grab it Sunday.”
EXPECTATION OF SAN DIEGO STATE'S FAN BASE RAISED
When San Diego State coach Steve Fisher first started with the Aztecs 14 years ago, few fans came to San Diego State's games.
Now, after four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, the expectations of SDSU's fans have risen.
“We at San Diego State have not had a long history of being here, so the first time we came, people were overjoyed because we made the NCAA Tournament,” Fisher said Thursday. “And then expectations raise for everybody. We won our firstever NCAA game two years ago, and we got to the Sweet 16, and I was very, very proud of every team we've had. That team was good enough to win a national championship.
“From 10 years ago to say that about San Diego State, people would laugh at you. ... So now when you win a game, everybody thinks it's a divine right to be there and you're supposed to win a game. So expectations are high, and now they're high with our fan base, and I think that's the way it should be.”
OU-MIZZOU SERIES COMING?
Could the Sooners find themselves facing an old Big 12 foe again soon?
OU athletic director Joe Castiglione, who is in Lexington, Ky., as part of his duties as an NCAA Tournament Selection Committee member, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Vahe Gregorian that Oklahoma and Missouri have had discussions about a home-and-home basketball series.
FRANKLIN'S GOT HIS WORK BOOTS ON
Aztecs star Jamaal Franklin had what looked like his work boots on for practice at the Wells Fargo Center.
Franklin's Nikes were tan with matching tan shoelaces, but what distinguished them as basketball shoes was the gold trim along the shoe's tongue and sole.
WHITTENBURG WATCHES OKLAHOMA'S PRACTICE
Dereck Whittenburg, a member of North Carolina State's 1983 national championship team, greeted the Sooners after their practice session.
Oklahoma congregated around the southwest corner of the court as they shook Whittenburg's hands — then freshman Buddy Hield took a photo with the national champion.
FISHER IMPRESSED WITH OSBY
Osby seemed to have made quite the impression on Fisher.
“If Osby is not the best player in the Big 12, I don't want to play the team that has the best player in the Big 12,” Fisher said. “He's really, really good. He knows how to play. I read a lot about him, and he seems like the kind of player that every coach would love to have.”
His praise didn't end there.
“He can put it to the floor,” Fisher said. “He can shoot it on you facing you to 18, 20 feet. He gets to the freethrow line. ... When he doesn't touch the ball, it's a rarity in their halfcourt setup.”
San Diego ended its practice Thursday like it could end an NCAA Tournament game — with the lob of hope.
One after another, the Aztecs lobbed a half-court pass toward the hoop. Some of the shots were badly airballed. Some hit the rim and bounced off, ensuing sighs and groans.
Then after about 10 tries, one went through the hoop. Everyone cheered, and practice was over.
Florida Gulf Coast ended their practice the same way.