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OU chat: Ryan Aber talks NCAA violations, Sooners hoops and Blake Bell's tools

by Ryan Aber Published: February 19, 2014
Ryan Aber 10:36 a.m. I'll be back at 11 to answer questions on OU basketball, football and other topics. Get your questions in now.
Ryan Aber 11:00 a.m. All right, 11 a.m. and time to get started. Keep the questions coming.
Matt 11:00 a.m. OU basketball can live and die by their outside shooting. That in mind, what do you see their remaining schedule rendering in the W-L columns?
Ryan Aber 11:02 a.m. I think they're in pretty good shape with the schedule to close out the season. I think they go 4-1 or 3-2 down the stretch, beating Kansas State on Saturday, West Virginia and home and TCU on the road. I think they fall at Kansas especially now that Embiid is back. Texas in Norman will be the swing game next Saturday. You're right, though, OU does live and die by the outside shot. More often than now, they've lived by it, though it did bite them in a big way against Texas Tech. They need to get to the basket more, especially with Buddy Hield and Jordan Woodard. That's been a point of emphasis this week.
Mike Stoops 11:03 a.m. Will I jump at another HC job if the chance presents itself?
Ryan Aber 11:04 a.m. I think you'll have options after next year if the defense looks as good as it did last year (or better). But I also think there's a part of you that likes where you're at and recognizes being a better fit as a defensive coordinator than as a head coach. My guess is that wins out.
RL 11:05 a.m. Will Blake Bell's athleticism give him a legitimate shot to play tight end.
Ryan Aber 11:07 a.m. Certainly Blake Bell has the physical tools to be able to play the tight end spot. He has the perfect build for it. The question is how quickly he can pick up on the things he needs to do to be on the field at the spot at any time in the game. He showed good hands in high school. With what OU has returning at the spot, I think Bell gets a chance to be a solid contributor.
RL 11:07 a.m. Will spring practice establish a solid backup for Trevor Knight?
Ryan Aber 11:09 a.m. They better hope so. OU has gone from a bounty of quarterback talent who had played in big games to a shortage in a hurry. There's no doubt Knight is No. 1 but either Cody Thomas or Justice Hansen need to have really good springs to give the coaching staff some comfort. I think Thomas has a better pure arm but Hansen is a really good decision maker and has a pretty solid arm himself. It'll be, to me, the most interesting battle to watch during the spring.
Ryan Aber 11:10 a.m. OU coaches insist that Blake Bell is entrenched at tight end and they'll take their chances with Thomas or Hansen if Knight were to get hurt. If neither of those guys take a big step forward this spring, I bet that would go out the window in a hurry.
dr. el prez 11:10 a.m. Ryan, OU loses Cam Clark and Tyler Neal from the rotation after this season. Who are some the new players coming in who will be immediate rotation players next fall?
Ryan Aber 11:13 a.m. They'll add three players next year: 6-9 center/power forward Khadeem Lattin, 6-7 power forward Dante Buford and 6-10 center Jamuni McNeace. McNeace is more of a project guy that could take a year or two to work his way into the rotation but Lattin and Buford are expected to place immediately. OU coaches really like Buford and he could fill that forward spot vacated by Clark, and even let Spangler move over to the 4.
Dick Vitale 11:13 a.m. How far could you OU going in the NCAA Tournament? Best case scenario? Worst case scenario? Realistic scenario?
Ryan Aber 11:16 a.m. I think right now if I had to guess, they win their first game and fall in the round of 32. As for best case/worst case, I'd say best is to get up into a 5 seed, avoid the 5-12 trap, pull a mild upset over a 4 seed in the second round and move on to the Sweet 16 where they pull an even bigger upset to make it to the Elite Eight where the run ends. Worst case, they struggle down the stretch, finish in the 7-10 range in seeding and get bounced in the first round. Realistic: Finish as a 6-7 seed, get through a tough first-round game (I don't care what the NCAA calls it, it's the first round) and falls in the second.
Crimson Jesus 11:17 a.m. Does OU have a chance at catching Kansas? It's gonna be tough to win in Lawrence.
Ryan Aber 11:19 a.m. I can't see it happening, even with a win in Lawrence. The Jayhawks are three games up on OU with Texas in between them and Iowa State tied with OU. I could see them losing one other game (maybe against Texas on Saturday) but don't see them falling back that much. Second place, though, is very attainable, with Texas coming here next weekend and the Longhorns playing Kansas this weekend.
Brett 11:19 a.m. Are coaches constantly walking on eggshells when it comes to recruiting? Seems like everything is a violation of something. Seems like the NCAA would have bigger fish to fry.
Ryan Aber 11:22 a.m. It pretty much appears that way. I think most all coaches give a good-faith effort to learn the rules and follow them, but they're also awfully complex. If you read the violations breakdown I had today, they included responding to a group text that unknowingly included a recruit, calling a recruit after an assistant coach who was leaving the program for another had called the same week and a coach texting the father of a recruit for directions to an allowed in-home visit. Amazing what is allowed and what is not.
Clint 11:22 a.m. Did anyone every try to get Trey Metoyer some psychological help when he was at OU?
Ryan Aber 11:23 a.m. I don't know that they did but I would hope so. It's clear that this is much more than just a young kid making mistakes or being unable to control impulses. He needs help to fix it and I hope he's getting it.
Trent 11:25 a.m. Who is the MVP of the basketball team to this point?
Ryan Aber 11:27 a.m. That's a tough one. You could go with Cam Clark, especially early in the season. Could be Buddy Hield, because he always seems to hit big shots. But I'd have to go with Ryan Spangler so far. The toughness he adds inside on both ends seems to rub off on the rest of the team. When he's flowing well, the Sooners are tough to beat by anybody.They can battle through off-nights from Hield or Clark or Woodard. Spangler has an off night and OU is in trouble.
Paul 11:28 a.m. If you could change how the NCAA handles it's rules and violations what would you do? I would leave each conference in charge of recruiting violations. Risky, I know, but the NCAA has too much ground to cover between D-I and D-III. They need to be focused on the bigger stuff, not texts and pasta dishes.
Ryan Aber 11:29 a.m. That's a tough one because in most cases you can see the reasons why the rules are what they are. In other, the coaches are to blame. The NCAA wanted to open up texting for football and the coaches said they wanted it regulated. I'd just like to see some common sense be added to the NCAA bylaws on a lot of these rules. I won't hold my breath though.
Ryan Aber 11:30 a.m. All right, it's 11:30 and I have to run. Thanks for taking the time to send in your questions. Look forward to chatting again next week.
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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