OU men's basketball: Ryan Spangler, D.J. Bennett work with each other while sitting out a year

The Sooners' duo of 6-foot-8 forwards, having each other to go through the process, made the time easier to swallow.
by Ryan Aber Published: November 4, 2013

photo - Oklahoma Sooners' Ryan Spangler (0) drives around Evan Robinson in the second half as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) men defeat the Washburn Ichabods 104-76 in NCAA, college basketball at The Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013  in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma Sooners' Ryan Spangler (0) drives around Evan Robinson in the second half as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) men defeat the Washburn Ichabods 104-76 in NCAA, college basketball at The Lloyd Noble Center on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

NORMAN — Last year could've been lonely for Ryan Spangler.

It could've been the same for D.J. Bennett.

But for Oklahoma's duo of 6-foot-8 forwards, having each other to go through the process made the time easier to swallow.

After both Spangler and Bennett sat out last basketball season, both figure to play important roles this year for the Sooners — Spangler as a starter and Bennett playing significant minutes off the bench.

Oklahoma opens its season against Alabama at 4 p.m. Friday at Dallas' American Airlines Center.

Spangler grew up just down the road from Norman, starring at Bridge Creek High School.

But then-Sooners coach Jeff Capel didn't recruit Spangler, and he wound up signing with Gonzaga.

Bennett, from Chicago, went to Indian Hills Community College in Iowa. He seemed destined to wind up at Arkansas before a visit on a weekend filled with severe storms in April 2012 changed his mind.

A big part of that was Spangler's decision to come to Oklahoma, though that was pretty much decided when Sooners coach Lon Kruger told him he had a spot in Norman.

The pair committed to the Sooners on the same day.

Spangler had to sit out last season after transferring, but Bennett approached Kruger just before the season and asked to redshirt in order to work on his game and play a bigger role.

That meant Spangler had a redshirt partner.

“It was definitely nice,” Bennett said. “The better thing about it is we both like to work hard. We worked harder off each others' energy.

“That friendly competition made us go harder at each other so it's definitely helped us.”

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by Ryan Aber
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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