2007 Oklahoma Sooners Basketball Preview
The Oklahoma Sooners (16- 15 overall, 6- 10 Big 12) tied for seventh in the conference and missed the NCAA tournament and the NIT in 2006- 2007. Coach Jeff Capel (16- 15 in one year with Oklahoma, 95- 56 overall in five years) is looking to some of his new guys to increase the club’s point production (and the NCAA point spreads). Capel, with a year under his belt and a good incoming class of recruits, should be able to get his team to step it up a notch or two this year.
Oklahoma had fine defense last season, allowing only 59.6 PPG, which ranked them second in the conference and 18th overall. They were solid taking the ball off the rim, grabbing 36.0 RPG, making them plus-4.6. The team was fourth in turnovers with 13.7 TPG. Scoring was a major dilemma for this team, which hit for only 66.8 PPG, making them 11th in the Big 12. The team hit frees at .720, which put them in the top third of the conference.
Freshman forward Blake Griffin is one of the best recruits in the nation and a lot is expected from him in his initial season and in the NCAA team previews. Griffin can score, rebound, pass and run. Senior center Longar Longar (10.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 55.3 FG%) returns as the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. He’s shown improvement each season and this year should be a major factor in the Big 12. Keith Clark (3.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 42.4 FG%), a sophomore, is trying to rebound from a knee injury that plagued his last season. He is skilled and physical.
In the backcourt, the Sooners show depth. Look for junior transfer Omar Leary, a sound three-point shooter and good playmaker, to take over the point. Sophomore Tony Crocker (8.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 45 FG%) can slash and shoot. He’ll continue to get better and better.
Capel, who’s a demanding coach, is expecting many of his new players to step-up. Certainly the team must do better from the field than 43.5%, which ranked them ninth in the conference. The Sooners ended a 25-year post-season run when they missed both March Madness coverage and the NIT last year. They have a good chance to be in the post-season mix in 2007- 2008.