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OU basketball: Sooners are off to Belgium, France

Tuesday is going to be a very long day for the OU men's basketball team. But Sooners coach Lon Kruger hopes the day will be the start of a rewarding experience both on and off the court for his team.
by Ryan Aber Modified: August 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm •  Published: August 6, 2013
/articleid/3869537/1/pictures/2176804">Photo - UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA COLLEGE BASKETBALL: OU's Ryan Spangler participates in an Oklahoma University Men's Basketball practice at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, OK, Monday, August 5, 2013,  Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman
UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA COLLEGE BASKETBALL: OU's Ryan Spangler participates in an Oklahoma University Men's Basketball practice at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, OK, Monday, August 5, 2013, Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman

The juco duo — Edson Avila and Keshaun Hamilton — will not make the trip. Both are finishing academic work before starting with the Sooners.

“Missing those two leaves us a little thin in terms of numbers, but the guys that are here are doing well,” Kruger said. “Ryan Spangler and D.J. Bennett are champing at the bit to play.”

Kruger said he also expected big things out of 6-foot-7 senior Cam Clark and redshirt freshman C.J. Cole.

“The bigs are going to surprise a lot of people that think we're just a guard team,” Cousins said. “They're going to prove them wrong.”

The trip isn't all basketball.

The team will also take some time to take in the sights, including a visit to Normandy, the site of the D-Day invasion in 1944.

Hornbeak has spent some time talking with former Sooners standout Amath M'Baye, who entered the NBA Draft last year after his junior season. M'Baye was born in France.

“I'm getting him to teach me four or five sentences so I can talk a little bit,” Hornbeak said. “It'll be my first time in Europe. I'm really looking forward to waffles and crepes. Amath was telling me about some cinnamon thing that was real good, too.”

The Sooners will fly to Dallas and then to Paris on Tuesday before bussing to Belgium, where the Sooners play Thursday through Saturday. They'll then play in France on Aug. 14-15.

The trip was organized by Basketball Travelers, which put together similar tours for OU's women's team in 2004 and 2008.

“They always identify a level that's comparable to what you play at home,” Kruger said. “There will be good teams and it'll be very challenging. They know our team and know what to try to match up our competition with.”

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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Roster breakdown

Oklahoma leaves Tuesday for a 10-day trip to Belgium and France. Here's a look at the players who are expected to be on the Sooners roster for the trip. Two junior college players — Keshaun Hamilton and Edson Avila — are expected to join the Sooners after they return.

D.J. Bennett, junior, forward

After redshirting last season, Bennett figures to play a prominent role in a frontcourt that is in rebuilding mode.

Frank Booker, freshman, guard

The 6-foot-4 freshman averaged 27.9 points and 4.1 assists as a high school senior in Augusta, Ga., last season.

Cameron Clark, senior, guard

Saw action in 32 games last season, averaging 6.5 points and 3.2 rebounds off the bench.

C.J. Cole, redshirt freshman, forward

The 6-foot-7 forward from Sperry averaged 21.6 points and 16.6 rebounds as a senior in helping his team to its first-ever state tournament appearance.

Isaiah Cousins, sophomore, guard

After starting the first 10 games of last season, Cousins started just four games the rest of the way and finished averaging 2.7 points and 2.0 rebounds.

James Fraschilla, junior, guard

The walk-on saw time in 15 games over the last two seasons.

Daniel Harper, freshman, guard

The Norman native averaged 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists with the Tigers.

Buddy Hield, sophomore, guard

One of the key pieces of last year's NCAA Tournament team, Hield will not play on the trip after aggravating a foot injury during practice. He will travel with the team, though.

Je'lon Hornbeak, sophomore, guard

Hornbeak started the final nine games of the season and 29 overall in averaging 5.6 points and 2.7 rebounds as a freshman.

Austin Mankin, freshman, forward

A sophomore academically, Mankin shot .418 from behind the 3-point line as a senior in high school in 2011-12.

Tyler Neal, senior, forward

Neal saw time off the bench in 27 games for last year's Sooners, averaging 1.1 points and 1.4 rebounds.

Trey Slate, freshman, guard

The Gore native is on the roster after serving as OU's team manager last season.

Ryan Spangler, sophomore, forward

Spangler is back after sitting out last year following his transfer from Gonzaga, where he averaged 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds off the bench as a freshman.

Jordan Woodard, freshman, guard

Woodard helped Edmond Memorial to the Class 6A title last season, hitting a buzzer-beating tip-in while playing on an injured hamstring in the championship game.


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