Jenni Carlson

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Chat transcript: Jenni Carlson talks tons of Thunder basketball, OSU's coaches and OU recruiting

by Jenni Carlson Published: January 15, 2014
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NewsOK Sports 10:31 a.m. Welcome to the Power Lunch chat. Get your questions in now and Jenni will be on at 11 a.m. to start the discussion.
NewsOK Sports 11:00 a.m. All right, sports fans, let's get crackin'!
Not understanding 11:00 a.m. I don't understand how professinal ball players seem to loose there ability to play when Westbrook goes down. Yes he is an important part of the Thunder, yes he sets up Lamb and others with open shots. But so does Durant. And I have seen Lamp and others missing open shots since Westbrook been out. Loosing is one thing, not playing to your ability you are being paid for is another.
NewsOK Sports 11:01 a.m. I get where you're coming from, NU. There are a good number of guys who look a bit off without Westbrook in the lineup, and you have to wonder if the two are related or if it just so happens that these guys are in a bit of a cold stretch right now. ...
NewsOK Sports 11:02 a.m. I will say this -- Westbrook does so much for the Thunder when he's on the court that when these guys are playing without him, it stretches them mentally and physically. All of them have to do more to cover the areas that he usually takes care of. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:03 a.m. Does that excuse guys missing open shots? No. But it surely has to be part of the equation.
Russell Westbrook 11:03 a.m. When im going to play again?
Jenni Carlson 11:03 a.m. Russ! Thanks for joining us. ;) ...
Jenni Carlson 11:04 a.m. The Thunder isn't offering up any new info about Westbrook's return. No surprise there. The Thunder has never been an open book when it comes to that sort of thing. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:05 a.m. And frankly, I'm of two minds on this. I could see RW returning early because that's what he did before. Not sure if that's because he has a high pain tolerance, is a quick healer, is a combination of those things or what, but I could see him coming back in a couple weeks. Maybe by Memphis on Feb 3 or Minnesota on Feb. 5. Or ...
Jenni Carlson 11:06 a.m. Maybe the Thunder decides to be much more cautious this time. RW came back early last time ... and he ended up needing another surgery. So maybe the team waits longer this time around. I'm truly not sure which will be the case. We're all in wait-and-see mode on this one.
Russell Westbrook 11:06 a.m. Trade for the Thunder are coming? Big or small?
Jenni Carlson 11:06 a.m. I don't foresee any trade coming soon, but we've been surprised before, haven't we? ...
Jenni Carlson 11:07 a.m. That said, I can't imagine that the Thunder would do anything blockbuster. It doesn't have the salary cap space, and about the only guy that seems likely to be on the trading block in the short term is Thabo. He's in a contract year, and if the team doesn't think it's making progress, it could consider a mid-season trade. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:08 a.m. Past that, I don't see much of anything happening. But I will admit, I was one of the folks who got blindsided by the Jeff Green trade, lo, these many years ago. So, hey, maybe I'll be surprised this time around, too.
Patrick 11:08 a.m. I think Gina threw out a few possibilities for OSU's next O-Line coach. Have you heard any other names or of anyone interviewing yet?
Jenni Carlson 11:09 a.m. Patrick, between Gina, John Helsley and I, we put together a short list of possibilities for that job, but at this point, we haven't heard any thing more. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:09 a.m. This week is the coaches' clinic where a lot of head coaches meet with potential candidates for spots that are open. I wouldn't be surprised if in the coming days, we start hearing more. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:10 a.m. That said, Gundy keeps these hires under pretty tight wraps. I mean, did anyone have Mike Yurcich on their list of candidates last year before he got the OC job?
Guest 11:10 a.m. Last night's game was just an example on how brooks substitutes players without any logical reason except to make some sort change. For example the starters were playing and they were being clobbered by the Grizzlies, by about 10 points and in comes, Lamb for Perkins, Adams for Thabo and Collison for Ibaka and the lead was cut to only 2 points, so it showed that the bench plays better with Durant and Reggie, then why would Brooks still insists of putting back the same starters that cannot compete with the opposition.
Jenni Carlson 11:10 a.m. I was a bit perplexed about why Collison and Adams didn't get more run together. They seemed to be playing pretty effectively together against the Memphis bigs. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:12 a.m. And while I totally get your frustration, I think it's also worth remembering that Scott Brooks is doing things right now -- experimenting, tinkering, whatever -- so that he has a better idea of what he wants to do come playoff time. That might mean that things don't always look great now, but I would think that the hope is to take a lump here or there now in hopes of knowing exactly what combos work come playoff time.
RCTexas 11:12 a.m. I know you love to stir up trouble for OSU so I will ask this question. What's with the rumors that Wickline left because of staff problems? Gundy can come across as cocky sometimes, but he has always talked about the collaborative process of getting all the coaches involved in the gameplanning process. That sounds like a good coaching environment. Wouldn't Gundy have left if Texas had offerred?
Jenni Carlson 11:12 a.m. Me? Stir up trouble? I have no idea what you're talking about. ;) ...
Jenni Carlson 11:13 a.m. I have no reason to believe Wick left because of staff problems. I suspect the main thing was the Wick and Charlie Strong go way, way back. They have coached together several times, and Wick saw an opportunity to go and coach at a big-time school with a long-time friend. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:14 a.m. Now, to your question about Gundy leaving if Texas would've offered. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:15 a.m. I firmly believe he would've left OSU for Texas. Maybe I'm still jaded by the way he played footsie with so many schools last year, but if Texas and all its money and cache came calling, yes, I think Gundy would be in Austin now instead of Stillwater.
Guest 11:15 a.m. It shows that the best line-up are Durant, Reggie, Adams, Lamb and Collison/Perry Jones as starters, in order to keep the pressure on offense and defense, so as not to be always lagging behind in games, what do you think?
Jenni Carlson 11:16 a.m. An interesting thought, but I'll remind you of this: much of the good play that you're seeing out of the likes of Adams, Lamb and PJIII is coming when they're playing against the second unit from other teams. Would they have as much success if they were playing the entire game against the other team's starters? Maybe, but maybe not.
Billy 11:16 a.m. Do you think the OU coaches can recruit any other 5 star recruits ? Also do we stand any chance of getting a big time receiver ?
Jenni Carlson 11:16 a.m. Could they recruit other five-stars? Sure. Will they? I have no idea. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:17 a.m. As for receiver, that is an interesting position to be recruiting to right now, I would think. The future of the OU offense is running quarterbacks like Knight. Does that turn off some WRs who would rather have the ball thrown to them 10 or 12 times a game? Some of those opportunities will now be taken by Knight's runs. Just a thought.
Guest 11:17 a.m. The second unit will be a blend mostly of Ibaka, Thabo, Fisher, Andre, Thabeet and last but not least Perkins, with Durant, Reggie, Adams, Jones and Lamb, Brooks should experiment and give the young players a better understanding and confidence in the game, your thought?
Jenni Carlson 11:17 a.m. Lots of Thunder coaches on the chat today! ...
Jenni Carlson 11:19 a.m. I suspect Scott Brooks is considering all kinds of options. And here's something to consider: some of what you and others are suggesting are lineups that Brooks has likely tried in practice. If they bombed there, he probably isn't going to trot them out much in a game.
Guest 11:19 a.m. The Thunder's game got the apprehension bug when they shipped out Gomes, that started the young guns thinking or over thinking, would you comment?
Jenni Carlson 11:19 a.m. I'm pretty sure the Ryan Gomes trade has had little impact on how the team is playing right now. He was here for about five minutes and hardly played.
w 11:19 a.m. what would force brooks to change his lineup?
Jenni Carlson 11:21 a.m. You mean his starting lineup? Well, injury and changing personnel are most likely reasons for change there. But if, say, Steven Adams started playing crazy good, I could see Adams getting inserted for Perk. I don't think Brooks is totally against a lineup change. But he's not going to do it just because one guy plays well for a game or two. He wants some longer term proof.
Guest 11:21 a.m. Brooks says that he is fine with KD letting Ibaka shoot the ball at the last seconds, but he didn't make it, ok, what if Jones, Reggie, Adams or Lamb took it, would he be fine with it? I don't think so, your take?
Jenni Carlson 11:21 a.m. I don't know if he'd be fine with that, but the truth is, those guys WEREN'T shooting. Ibaka was, and he's pretty good with that corner three.
cowboy orange 11:22 a.m. Do u think gundy keeps his job if he goes 8-5 again? holder cant be happy with his return yet?
Jenni Carlson 11:22 a.m. I don't see him getting fired after losing 28 seniors. If OSU wins eight games next year, I would think that would be pretty good. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:23 a.m. And Holder can't be happy with his return? You mean he shouldn't be happy about a first-ever Big 12 title and BCS bowl, a bunch of double-digit win seasons and a rising status in the country? I would think he'd be ecstatic about all of that.
Guest 11:23 a.m. Rumors out of Stillwater are that Spencer is gone period, not just being tied to the now filled Georgia DC job. Are you hearing anything like this?
Jenni Carlson 11:24 a.m. Nope. I would actually think the opposite. His wife died two years ago. He's got kids who went through a ton then. They like Stillwater. Why put the kids through more upheaval?
cowboy orange 11:24 a.m. has osu collected any money on the Life insurance policies of their alumni in the "gift of a lifetime" project?
Jenni Carlson 11:24 a.m. I believe that went through litigation, and no, I don't think anything's been collected.
cowboy orange 11:24 a.m. Do u think osu added too many seats to GIA? we have a top 15 program and cant even sniff a sell out?
Jenni Carlson 11:25 a.m. It didn't seem like OSU added too many when it did the expansion, but now, the football team is much improved and the Thunder is in town. Those two things have vastly changed the dynamics when it comes to OSU basketball attendance.
dooby 11:25 a.m. any potential OU staff leaving? and last but not least, who would win in a fist fight, Charlie Strong or Bill Snyder?
Jenni Carlson 11:26 a.m. It's always possible that assistants leave, but I doubt it. Don't see either coordinators going. Several of the other assistants are relatively new or tied to the area. Again, possible, but I think it's unlikely. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:26 a.m. And I'll go with Strong in the fist fight, but Snyder's scrappy. He'd put up a fight.
Guest 11:26 a.m. How is Brooks taking a lump, when he does not own any losses his team incurs, except excuses as to poor shooting, bad passes, lack of chemistry, etc. but he forgot he is their teacher, mentor and coach who should make improvements, would you think so?
Jenni Carlson 11:27 a.m. Listen, the Thunder is among the best team in the league in developing players. The coaches, including Brooks, are the reason behind that. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:27 a.m. The team is just going through a tough stretch right now. Everyone needs to take a deep breath.
Derek Fishers Younger, taller, better looking brother 11:27 a.m. Jenni- You over use the word "suspect" as a verb.
Jenni Carlson 11:27 a.m. I suspect you're right.
Guest 11:28 a.m. Any word if Gundy is interviewing? I am going to throw this out there, I wish he would pack his bags and hit the road. I believe you stick anyone in the heach coaching position with a athletic department with deep pockets his name would be a brand name coach. OSU won't win a national title while he occupies the space.
Jenni Carlson 11:29 a.m. What exactly would he be interviewing for? At this point, the most high profile opening college opening I can think of is Vandy. And Gundy isn't leaving OSU for Vandy. ...
Jenni Carlson 11:29 a.m. And I don't see him making a jump to the NFL. So, no, I can't imagine he's interviewing anywhere.
Derek Fishers Younger, taller, better looking brother 11:29 a.m. What good are those trade exceptions- if they don't do anything with them? Why not offer a 10 day contract to a hungry d-leaguer and see what happens?
Jenni Carlson 11:29 a.m. Who says they aren't doing anything with them? They just haven't done anything yet.
Keith "Two-Bit" Mathews 11:29 a.m. How in the world did Georgia hire the DC away from FSU?
Jenni Carlson 11:30 a.m. Money? I have to admit, since I don't cover those teams or the conferences they're in, I haven't looked into it, but that seemed interesting to me as well.
Jenni Carlson 11:32 a.m. All right, folks, I've got to run. Got a meeting to get to, and I'm already late! Thanks for all the questions, though. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the Power Lunch with Berry Tramel.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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