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OU notebook: Willis doing light work

Published: September 22, 2008

/> "I think his development is another part that we felt would make this good for us.”

•Hoops update: Basketball practices don't officially begin until Oct. 18, but the Sooners took advantage of allowed supervised time by holding two one-hour workouts late last week.

OU is considered a top 15 team by most preseason publications and included among the top 10 by some, projections built around the return of star center Blake Griffin.

"There's an excitement around here,” Griffin said.

The Sooners return other key pieces and have added yet more, including McDonald's All-American Willie Warren at guard.

"Trying to get a feel of who we are right now as a coaching staff,” said OU coach Jeff Capel. "These two hours give us an opportunity to do that.

"We want to be good and we have to work to try to become good. We have to fall in love with the process. The first part of that right now is trying to become a team. You just don't become a team automatically. You have to work and go through some things to become that.”

•Willis slowed: For freshman guard Ray Willis, his fit into the framework of the team is more deliberate.

Willis was stabbed at a Norman night club three weeks ago, suffering a collapsed lung. He has been cleared to do light work, including shooting the basketball, but isn't likely to return to on-court contact work for another two weeks.

Capel said he did expect Willis to be ready Oct. 17, when the Sooners get started for real.

By John Helsley

Blake Griffin
Sooners center and teammates are participating in short workouts

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