OU basketball Insider: Tiny Gallon has growing up to do

BY DAVID UBBEN, Staff Writer, dubben@opubco.com Modified: January 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm •  Published: January 18, 2010

NORMAN — During Friday’s basketball practice, Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel tried to make sure his talented freshman wasn’t confused.

"Told him I thought he was content averaging 12 (points) and nine (rebounds),” said Capel.

Against Oklahoma State, Tiny Gallon finished with 13 points and 18 rebounds but missed a pair of easy layups underneath the basket.

Early in Saturday’s 66-61 win over Missouri, he saw some of the same poor finishes he’d seen against the Cowboys and in practice.

He called the still-developing big man, who also had three turnovers, including a three-second violation, to the bench and kept him there. Capel played senior Ryan Wright instead. Wright responded with 12 points and eight rebounds. He played 27 minutes to starter Gallon’s 14.

"He just wanted to be content instead of being dominant,” Capel said.

He’s trying to bring out the Tiny Gallon whose rebounding prowess against the Cowboys inspired Willie Warren to christen him "Blake Jr.” Capel’s trying to eliminate the Tiny Gallon whose occasional failures around the goal forced the coach to bench him.

Both are only small parts of the maturation process the freshman is undergoing.

"I think I’ve developed to be more mentally strong,” Gallon said.

For Gallon, catching a pass on the wing, on most occasions, means pass and go set a screen. In high school, that meant go score. Gallon said part of his maturation has been realizing and utilizing the talent around him. He’s not the only Sooner who can score.

Bedtime has moved from 4 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m. He’s now forced to maintain healthy eating habits to preserve his recent 70-pound weight loss.