Men's Basketball: Oklahoma
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Monday, January 14, 2013
1/14/13 at 6:01 AM
with Romero Osby
Weight: 232 pounds
Osby is the Sooners’
one indispensable player.
He is their only threat to
score inside. He is also
their offensive trump card, someone strong
enough to beat you on the post while possessing
a dependable 15-footer that can take
big men outside their comfort zone. Lon Kruger
calls him “a coach’s dream,” a tone-setter
in terms of work and attitude.
Are you playing the best basketball of your
I’m just trying to go out and play hard every
day, try to help my teammates any way I can,
try to go after every rebound. That’s what gets
me going, when I get rebounds. I’m just trying
to play hard.
Before transferring to OU from Mississippi
State, what other schools did you consider?
South Florida was high on me. VCU was
high on me. Coach (Shaka) Smart (then at
VCU) and my dad had a good relationship
talking back and forth. A lot of mid-majors
were coming after me. The big schools started
coming after me a little bit when they found
out I was going to OU. Really, though, it was
between OU, USF and VCU.
You represented OU at the Big 12 Leadership
Summit the summer before last. Why?
Carmen Tebbe (OU’s associate director for
academics and student life) recommended
me for it, because she thought it would help
me become a leader. We had coach Kruger
coming in. We lost a lot the year before, and
we really didn’t have any leadership per se,
somebody stepping up and being a leader.
She kind of thought I had good leadership
qualities, so she asked me would I go. I went
and I learned a lot about being a leader, about
being vocal and doing it by example. I think it
helped build some character, or it helped build
on what I already had.
The Sooners played just once last week,
knocking off Oklahoma State 77-68 Saturday
at the Lloyd Noble Center to run their winning
streak to four and their Big 12 Conference record
to 2-0. That hasn’t happened since Blake
Griffin was still around.
The week ahead
Wednesday: vs. Texas Tech, 7 p.m.
Saturday: at Kansas State, 3 p.m.
The Sooners should be headed to Manhattan
with a 3-0 league record. But realize
something first — Tech, despite its 8-6 ledger,
will fight. The Red Raiders trailed Kansas by a
point at halftime Saturday. They also tagged
OU in Lubbock last year 65-47. Assuming
the Sooners are dialed in, however, they’ll be
headed to K-State for a battle of conference
unbeatens (the 2-0 Wildcats travel to TCU
before hosting OU).
The big picture
Matter of time
The Sooners spent the first 10 weeks of
their season missing most of their outside
shots. Kruger figured they’d start making
some eventually, and that his offense would
look a lot smoother as a result. Presto. OU
held off Oklahoma State by making 8-of-13
Two out of three ain’t bad
Three career starters now come off Kruger’s
bench. Cameron Clark has responded
to his new role aggressively and has helped
consistently. Sam Grooms has come off the
bench to steady a team that starts freshmen
Buddy Hield and Je’lon Hornbeak. Another
plus. What OU now needs is for former
starter Andrew Fitzgerald to come in and
make shots. It can happen, but it hasn’t yet.
The Sooners are a deeper, more confident,
more capable, more resilient team than
Kruger’s first group. They have set themselves
up to make a run at their first NCAA appearance
since ‘09. First, however, OU needs all of
its pieces in place. Griffin could cover some
holes and strengthen some weaknesses by
himself. These Sooners don’t have that luxury.
Including them in a mock bracket right now is
Oklahoma's Romero Osby battles Louisiana-Monroe's Amos Olatayo for a rebound in their game earlier this season in Norman. GARETT FISBECK / The Oklahoman