OU basketball: Sooners' Steven Pledger wants to be team's clutch player in NCAA Tournament

Every March, there's a player shocks America with his clutch performances during the NCAA Tournament. Steven Pledger wants to be that player.
by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: March 18, 2013


Steven Pledger could feel the eyes on him. He knew it was a pressure situation and he needed to make the shot.

That's how he liked it.

He put up a shot. Good! He looked toward the kitchen window from his front yard and knew his dad saw him make the shot. That night he wouldn't hear about the importance of being the man who hits the basket in the clutch.

Every March, there's that guy — the one whose name gets picked up by every major sports organization as the guy who shocks America with his clutch performances. Every year it's a new guy. Could it be Steven Pledger this year?

If that question were based on his last two games, few would say yes. Pledger is 1-of-10 shooting in losses to TCU and Iowa State.

But on the season, Pledger is 70-of-189 for .370 average or almost four 3-pointers every 10 tries. He also ranks second all-time for the Sooners in 3-pointers made.

And all it takes is going 3-for-4 like he did in OU's game against Baylor — where his fuel added to the fire of Romero Osby and Sam Grooms and the three Sooners ignited their team to sweep the Bears.

“If he has had one bad game, we're not like, ‘Man, Pledge didn't do anything,'” Osby said. “He always plays well for us. He's been doing it for years. It's his time …

“To see us get in the tournament and him get hot, I'd love that.”

While a hot-streak or clutch moment would help the team as a whole, it would benefit Osby the most — because if Pledger is the guy in the clutch, Osby is the guy who never takes a night off.

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by Stephanie Kuzydym
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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