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OU basketball's Calvin Newell has a knack for scoring

OU BASKETBALL — Oklahoma guard Calvin Newell was a little disappointed with his playing time last season. But after new Sooners coach Lon Kruger told Newell to stay engaged and put the team first, Newell found his form.
BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Modified: November 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm •  Published: November 17, 2011
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Oklahoma sophomore guard Calvin Newell's role could change game to game depending on the opponent or how his teammates are playing.

But as Newell showed in the Sooners' season opening win last week over Idaho State, the Philadelphia product has a knack for scoring.

Newell scored a game-high 19 points in the opener, but one reason he played 28 minutes was junior starting shooting guard Steven Pledger was suspended. Pledger returns tonight for a 7 p.m. game against Coppin State.

“Coach (Lon Kruger) told me if you put your team first everything else will fall into place,” Newell said. “That's what I tried to do. I was more engaged.”

Last season there were times Newell wasn't engaged. He was disappointed his playing time fluctuated.

There were games he was a major part of the rotation, but there were 14 games Newell played 10 minutes or less.

“Last year it seemed I mainly played when there was foul trouble or a player not playing good,” Newell said. “Now I know I'm going to get 15 or 20 minutes a night. I feel I can bring a lot to this team and will do whatever it takes to win.”

Junior college transfer Sam Groom and junior Carl Blair will share point guard duties. Pledger and sophomore Cameron Clark are entrenched starters.

“We have a pretty good rotation,” Kruger said. “Those guys can all score. They can all guard. They're good athletes. I like that rotation.”

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OKLAHOMA VS. COPPIN STATE

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Lloyd Noble Center, Norman

TV: KAUT-43 (Cox channel 16)

Radio: KOKC-AM (1520)

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Oklahoma (1-0)

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

G - Sam Grooms - 6-1 - Jr. - 11.0 - *8.0

G - Steven Pledger - 6-4 - Jr. - na - na

F - Cameron Clark - 6-6 - So. - 2.0 - 3.0

F - Romero Osby - 6-8 - Jr. - 17.0 - 10.0

C - Andrew Fitzgerald - 6-8 - Jr. - 7.0 - 1.0

Coppin State (1-1)

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

G - Tony Gallo - 5-11 - Sr. - 20.0 - *2.5

G - Akeem Ellis - 6-6 - Jr. - 14.5 - 8.0

F - Antonio Williams - 6-6 - Jr. - 2.5 - 5.5

F - Logan Wiens - 6-8 - Sr. - 4.5 - 4.0

F - Mike Simpson - 6-6 - So. - 3.5 - 1.5

* assists

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