The thoughts of tournament titles, March Madness and glory disappeared from their heads.
But Fitzgerald and Pledger learned from the losses. Through it all, they learned how to become men and best friends.
“Oh, we've had our arguments,” Pledger said of their friendship and of being roommates. “The arguments that we had were idiotic arguments.”
Their largest came the summer before their junior season, when current Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger was going through his first summer with the team. Pledger and Fitzgerald were always arguing in the gym. Eventually, they solved their differences and took their frustration to the court and unleashed it on their opponents.
Although OU only won 15 games during their junior season, Pledger finished with a team-high 16.2 points per game. He made 72 3-pointers.
Fitzgerald was the third-highest scorer on the team. He had the second-most rebounds with 154. They learned how to adjust to a new system, a new coaching staff and a new style of teaching. They learned more about each other.
“We know more about each other than we probably should,” Pledger said. “Blood couldn't make us any more closer.”
Now, four years later, thoughts of tournaments and Madness in March make them smile.
While Pledger said he'll let others bring up the talks of tournaments, Fitzgerald admitted he and his roommate look at the projections quite a bit.
“We don't like being the 8, 9 seed because then you're going to get the No. 1 seed in the first round,” Fitzgerald said. “We're really just trying to get it together where we get a better seed in the tournament.”
Regardless of their seed, the two East Coast Sooners are playing on Senior Day — and another chance to impress the NCAA selection committee.
“We never been in it,” Pledger said of tournament talk.
As he shook his head and smiled, he said, “It's a good feeling.”