Kruger's family environment sold Elliott

NORMAN, Okla. — Trinity Valley Community College power forward Dominique Elliott looked around like anyone does for the right fit, the right spot and in the end, only one place could provide it for him: Oklahoma.

Out of offers from a final list of schools including Auburn, Marshall, Ole Miss and Southern Miss, he said it was one thing that Sooner head coach Lon Kruger is so highly regarded for that convinced him OU was that right spot for him.

"Just the family environment, the coaching staff, the way the coaching staff was on me, the way I was feeling [made the difference]," Elliott said. "I get calls every day from Coach Kruger, Coach Crutchfield, texts, too. They text me every day and I get calls from players like Amath [M'Baye]. Amath used to text and call me every day to see how I was doing after my visit, even before. So, I mean, just the family environment."

Something else that made his decision an easy one was his ability to bust into the lineup right away when he arrives on campus in the fall of 2013.

"I know they're losing three seniors that play the same position I play," Elliott said. "So, that's a lot of minutes coming in. I mean, obviously gotta work hard to get the starting spot, but you're still gonna have 25 to 30 minutes a night playing. So, I mean, the big factor to me was just playing time and having my major, so that's what made me jump on that real quick."

Speaking of having his major, the way the players approach that and their seriousness about the classroom impressed him as well.

He said he could see the priorities there.

"Great attitudes, good work ethic, always in the gym, care about class first, want to be a student first, just working hard on the court and that's the type of guys you want to be around when you make a decision like this," Elliott said. "So, that was one of the reasons why I committed early and got it over with because I liked the players and coaching staff on that."

Once he knew OU had all the right characteristics in a school, including attention to detail in the gym as well as the classroom, the family environment and potential for early playing time, at that point it simply became time to pull the trigger.

"Well, I knew and then at the same time I just felt like, ‘Why would I just keep going on visits and wasting people's time, wasting my time when I could just get it over with because I know where I want to go?' Elliott said. "After the visit, I knew where I wanted to go already without taking any other visits. It was OU, so I didn't want to waste anybody's time, waste my time. So, I just got it done."

Elliott joins Edmond Memorial HS shooting guard Jordan Woodard as 2013 commits after Woodard committed just about a month ago.

The two will join a team that, as Elliott mentioned, loses a number of seniors after the 2012-13 season, five to be exact in center Casey Arent, forwards Andrew Fitzgerald and Romero Osby and guards Sam Grooms and Steven Pledger.

But a number of other guys will return, including Gonzaga transfer forward Ryan Spangler, JUCO transfer forward D.J. Bennett and three-year OU forward Tyler Neal, among others.

And with that, the Sooners already have a plan of how they'll fit him into that core of guys.

"Yeah, they told me when I was on my visit, they showed a video about what I'll be doing," Elliott said. "I'll be playing the same position as Andrew Fitz [Fitzgerald], that four position, and like a lot of screening and popping, screening and rolling, coming off screens because I'm a mismatch. I'm like 6-8. I can post. I can shoot the midrange. I can go off the dribble, and I'm a good defender.

"So, I mean, if like there's a mismatch and I'm so versatile, so they can put me anywhere on the court. It doesn't matter."

What does matter is that Kruger and the Sooners, on this day, have locked up another valuable piece to their rebuilding future.

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