Six players on the Thunder roster came from the nation's top three teams in this week's college rankings.
Daequan Cook and Byron Mullens played for No. 1 Ohio State. Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich played for No. 2 Kansas. Kevin Durant and Royal Ivey played for No. 3 Texas. All of which leads to some playful banter inside the locker room.
Jeff Green (Georgetown) is at No. 13, but three other tradition-rich programs are struggling this season and did not receive a single vote this week in UCLA (Russell Westbrook), Indiana (D.J. White) and Michigan State (Morris Peterson).
“Oh, it feels good,” Cook said of his Buckeyes being 22-0. “A lot of people don't like it because they feel we haven't played a good team yet. Mo Pete's team now is in the top 70. D.J. is in the top 200. They're a little upset with us because we're the only undefeated team. It's (tough) to be me and (Mullens) right now.”
SEFOLOSHA STILL OUT
Thunder starting guard Thabo Sefolosha remains sidelined with a sprained left knee and is day-to-day. Thunder coach Scott Brooks said when Sefolosha is healthy enough to return, he will be in the starting lineup.
In the meantime, Brooks said he will continue to go with James Harden as the replacement starter, with Cook as the backup, despite his recent hot hand from 3-point range (6 for 12) the past two games.
“I feel very comfortable with Thabo and James, but DC has played well enough that he might me able to squeeze some minutes in there,” Brooks said.
The Thunder went through a 90-minute session Monday and will practice Tuesday, unless weather conditions get too severe.
Despite Sunday's 108-103 loss to Miami, the Thunder did not lose any ground on the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans, Utah or Denver, who all lost that day.
LEBRON ON POINT
Many predict by the end of the season, Miami (if healthy) will be playing LeBron James at point guard, alongside Dwyane Wade, Mike Miller, Chris Bosh and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
“LeBron is one of the best passers in the game,” Brooks said. “Whatever position he plays, he's a point guard. He could be the biggest guy on the court with four little guards, but you're always going to look at him as the point. His passes are on-time, on-target with such force, you have very (little) room for error to close out the shooter. He's a point. I don't know if it's a guard, forward or center. He's a point, and he's a very good one.”
James had 23 points on 14 field-goal attempts against the Thunder. He also had 13 assists, including eight in the first quarter.
Several upcoming announcements will involve players from the Thunder and the Tulsa 66ers.
Tuesday – Rosters for the Rookie Challenge announced, 5 p.m.
Wednesday – NBA Developmental League All-Star Game participants announced.
Thursday – All-Star Game reserves announced, 5 p.m.
Week of Feb. 14 – Skills Challenge participants announced.
“You think they should all go in, but sometimes the ball doesn't want to be your friend,” Cook on his shooting touch.