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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, Staff Writer, skuzydym@opubco.com Published: March 18, 2013

/articleid/3767384/1/pictures/1985082">Photo - Oklahoma Sooners' Steven Pledger (2) waves to the crowd and greets Oklahoma Sooner head coach Lon Kruger near the end of the second half as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) men defeat the Iowa State Cyclones 86-69 in NCAA, college basketball at The Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday, March 2, 2013  in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma Sooners' Steven Pledger (2) waves to the crowd and greets Oklahoma Sooner head coach Lon Kruger near the end of the second half as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) men defeat the Iowa State Cyclones 86-69 in NCAA, college basketball at The Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday, March 2, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

 “Roe has been so consistent,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “The guys look to him for leadership or strength. Anyone else that steps up helps him a lot.”

 Kruger said he could easily see that “anyone” being Pledger.

During his career, Pledger said he feels like he's been called on for “just about every close-game situation.”

 He feels like it's something a player is born with — and it's something that's in his family. He used to watch his dad do it when he played ‘Navy Ball,' which as Pledger explained is for guys who couldn't go to college who played on military ships.

“I actually remember when we lived in San Diego, I was about five years old and most kids would be off playing and messing around and I was just sitting there watching him play,” Pledger said of his dad. “I wouldn't get up or move.”

As he grew, he learned when others seem to get tight or nervous, he was OK being the one to “step up for the blame for the miss or the make.”

So does Pledger think he is that guy for Oklahoma this season?

 “I don't want to say anything about it,” he said then kind of gestured that he didn't want to jinx himself. “But the one guy that gets hot, yeah I know about it.”


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