Remembering the greatest Oklahoma basketball team ever

COMMENTARY — The 1987-88 Sooners remain the most entertaining sports team in Oklahoma history, even 25 years later.
by Berry Tramel Published: August 24, 2012
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That was full-court pressure, with four athletic players attacking and the 6-foot-10 King playing back to protect the basket.

“That was a unique group of guys, because we had speed, quicks and endurance,” Tubbs said. “And they loved to play like we wanted to play. It's hard to play like we played. That's why people don't play that way. It takes tremendous endurance.”

In Hawaii, those Sooners routed Virginia 109-61 and Dayton 151-99. “I can remember being up 25 against Virginia, with about eight minutes to go, and they called timeout,” Grace said. “Coach Tubbs said, ‘That's the ACC … kill 'em.'”

OU put up 144 on Oral Roberts, 108 on OSU, 120 on Missouri, 112 on Kansas State, 120 on New Mexico, 134 on Colorado and 113 on Nebraska. In the NCAA Tournament, OU beat Auburn 107-87 and Louisville 108-98.

In the Final Four, the Sooners beat a loaded Arizona team 86-78, but then Kansas pulled the big upset, Danny (Manning) and the Miracles winning 83-79.

But that defeat didn't lessen the brilliance of that team.

“I had no idea we were going to be that good,” Grace said. “After we beat up on a few teams, I knew this was something special. I think we knew we were a little different. Dancing on the sidelines … we were having innocent fun. If you dribbled down the court and pulled up for a 3-pointer, that was a questionable shot back then. But Billy gave us that freedom. We sort of knew we were trendsetters.”

And this weekend, most of them were back. Grant and Sieger didn't make it, but King and Blaylock and Grace were joined by Terrence Mullins, Andre Wiley, Tyrone Jones and Tony Martin.

“It's amazing,” Grace said. “Seeing the guys, seeing Mookie, haven't seen in probably 15 years. Tyrone Jones, don't think I've seen since I walked off campus 25 years ago.

“But all the guys look great. I was real curious to what the guys would look like, because some of my high school classmates don't look too good. I was wondering what these guys would look like, but looks like everyone's held on pretty good.”

Blaylock, who played 13 NBA seasons and never was one to talk much, turned a little wistful Friday.

“Glad to be back; 25 years makes you feel old,” he said. “I don't want to think about that. It's good to come back and enjoy people who loved watching you play.”

That would mean anyone who ever saw them.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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OU Alumni Game

What: OU Legends alumni basketball game

When: Noon Saturday

Where: Lloyd Noble Center, Norman

Who: Players from every decade going back to the 1940s are staging a reunion, though only more recent-vintage players are expected to play.

Admission: Free.

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