MHoops Media Day: Part I

The Sooners are coming off a 4-12 season after which a number of players elected to forego the rest of their Sooner careers, including guards Willie Warren and Tommy Mason-Griffin and forward Tiny Gallon, but head coach Jeff Capel is looking optimistically into a year where most experts expect OU to struggle.

"First of all, it is great to be back in Kansas City," Capel said. "We are excited about our season. Our guys are working extremely hard and we're excited to be into practice right now and look forward to getting better every day and getting to the games in November."

One reason to be excited is some talented newcomers, the most prized of which is four-star forward Cameron Clark from Sherman, Texas.

"We think Cameron is really talented as well [as fellow Big 12 freshmen Josh Selby and Perry Jones], think he has a chance to be a very good player," Capel said. "I love his attitude and his approach to trying to become a really good player, understanding that he is not there yet, but not being afraid of work."

Other incoming players include center Abdul Ahmed, forwards Barry Honore, Tyler Neal, Romero Osby, Nick Thompson and C.J. Washington and guards Carl Blair, Jr., Calvin Newell, Jr. and T.J. Taylor.

Those guys will have to blend in with the few veterans the Sooners have, led by senior guard Cade Davis.

"Chemistry is huge," Capel said. "I don't care how talented you are. Chemistry is very, very big. And the main thing is that guys have to understand how much they need each other. That's the main thing. You can't be, you know, one person or two people trying to do their own thing.

"Everyone has to be about one thing, and that's winning and doing whatever it takes to win."

And so far, Capel said he feels good about their chemistry working positively in that way.

"I think our chemistry is really good," Capel said. "It starts in the summer. I have always been a big believer that especially in the college level, you start building that camaraderie and that chemistry in the summer once you get guys on campus."

At this point, it's just about putting together some kind of finished product before they take the court for the first time.

"Now we are in the process of practice," Capel said. "Usually your first week, two weeks of practice are the most difficult on the players because it's--you are going every day, you are getting hit as they cut, as they run, as they bang, ball screens. Now you are trying to pay attention to detail with certain things.

They will get their first opportunity to show just how that's paid off when take open things up against Northern State at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 in Norman.

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