Oklahoma basketball's Steven Pledger among best shooting guards in the country

OU BASKETBALL — It may be early in the season, but OU junior guard Steven Pledger ranks among the nation's top guards in terms of shooting percentages. Pledger credits his hot shooting to summer workouts with his father back home in Virginia.
by Michael Baldwin Published: December 20, 2011

Against Houston, Pledger was 10-of-13 from the field, 4-of-5 beyond the arc, 7-of-7 at the line.

With four OU players averaging double figures, Pledger consistently scoring near 20 points is an anchor.

“Everyone has a tough game now and then, but it's really good to have someone who scores consistently like he does,” said forward Romero Osby. “He's one of the best shooters I've ever been around. Sometimes you relax when he shoots because you always think it's going in.”

Named the co-Big 12 Player of the Week, Pledger said he expanded his game working out with his father at his old high school and during hot, steamy days on the driveway.

“He probably knows me more than I know myself,” Pledger said. “He told me a couple of sweet spots that he felt I'm really good at getting to — anywhere close to the baseline or in the dead zone between the 3-point line and the paint.”

Because he's off to a torrid start, Pledger will be the focus of opposing teams' defensive game plans. That was evident in the 79-74 win over Houston.

“Each game becomes more difficult because defenses are more conscious of you,” Kruger said. “You have to invest even more to continue getting the same results because defenses are working harder to stop you. But Steve works hard at it.”

And Pledger's reaction to owning the best shooting percentage of any guard in the nation?

“Wow,” Pledger said. “That's a big accomplishment. But I haven't really thought about it much. I just try to go out every game and do whatever I have to do to help us get a win. I'm excited we're off to a great (8-1) start.”

by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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MEN'S BASKTEBALL

Oklahoma vs. South Carolina State

* When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

* Where: Lloyd Noble Center

* TV: KAUT-43 (Cox channel 16)

* Radio: KOKC-AM (1520)

THREE THINGS TO KNOW

* The Sooners have four players averaging double figures. All four have scored 16 or more points in a game.

* OU sixth man Tyler Neal has averaged 10.0 points since Calvin Newell left the program five games into the season.

* The Bulldogs have lost six of their last seven games.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Oklahoma (8-1)

Pos. - Player - Ht. - Cl. - Pts. - Reb.

G - Sam Grooms - 6-1 - Jr. - 7.0 - 5.1*

G - Steven Pledger - 6-4 - Jr. - 19.5 - 3.9

F - Cameron Clark - 6-6 - So. - 10.0 - 3.4

F - Romero Osby - 6-8 - Jr. - 10.0 - 7.8

C - Andrew Fitzgerald - 6-8 - Jr. - 10.9 - 5.8

South Carolina State (4-7)

Pos. - Player - Ht. - Cl. - Pts. - Reb.

G - Khalif Toombs - 5-9 - Jr. - 12.0 - 3.7*

G - Brandon Riley - 6-2 - Sr. - 20.9 - 4.6

F - Omar Sanders - 6-7 - Sr. - 10.8 - 6.5

F - Aaron Martin - 6-5 - Jr. - 7.1 - 4.4

C - Presano Bell - 6-7 - Sr. - 6.7 - 5.5

* assists

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