Seltzer says more experience will help OU in 04-05

Oklahoma Men's Assistant Coach Bennie Seltzer talks about the development of the Sooners' freshmen quartet and the return of Kevin Bookout.

Bennie Seltzer has known OU Head Men's Basketball Coach Kelvin Sampson as a coach and a player for 11 years. Considered by Coach Sampson as one of the best individual teachers of hoops of any coach he has worked with, Seltzer will join Coach Sampson on his upcoming USA Junior Olympic Basketball Team.

Coach Seltzer works with every Sooner at one time or another on individual instruction, and recently he sat down with for the Two Minute Drill.

JH: Last year's basketball player was very young with many freshman in the line up. Do you feel that next year's team will be a great deal better with most of the main core of players going into their sophomore year?

BS: "Oh, absolutely. Each day as a freshman is like a day that you have never experienced before in your life. You really don't know what to expect, and you can't really look on yesterday because you are too afraid to. You are hoping it is probably not that way, but as a freshman you don't know what to expect from day to day.

"Our guys have a year under their belt and they are a year wiser. That year makes all the difference. Now, our kids will come in here in August and get ready to go through our conditioning program in September, and they now know what to expect. That part of it is invaluable. You can't teach experience, and our kids have a year of experience now."

JH: You check Drew Lavender everyday in practice, so what do you think of Drew as a point guard? And what kind of future do you feel has in college basketball at OU?

BS: "Drew is an amazing point guard. He has amazing court visio, and he is so quick and so fast. The thing that I think Drew really has to work on this past spring and this summer is his outside shooting. He has to become a lot better shooter because that will open the floor for him a little bit more.

"Drew also has to get a little stronger, and that is the point where he is at right now. We have a new addition to our staff in Strength and Conditioning coach Darby Rich, and he is doing a phenomenal job this offseason with our guys. They are all walking around with their chest poked out like they are so big and strong, but they are getting bigger and stronger. I think Drew just maxed out at 250 on the bench, and that is very good for a guy who is 160 pounds. Those guys are getting stronger, and that is one area where Drew had to improve. He is working very hard and he has done that so far."

JH: Wouldn't you say that would be the same goal for Lawrence McKenzie and Brandon Foust?

BS: "Absolutely, and that goes for our entire team. Lawrence is throwing up 265. And I realize that these numbers don't really mean a whole lot, but what I like about it is that they do a great deal for our kids' confidence. Our kids are in the weight room everyday getting the job done. Lifting weights and becoming stronger gives our kids a lot more confidence, and that is where we are going to get a little better at."

JH: Do you feel that Foust will be able to make the transition to the wing? And what does he really need to do to become a better wing player?

BS: "We thought that Foust was somewhat out of position last year,, so we feel he has the talent to play on the wing and play well on the wing. The first thing that he needs to work on is his ball-handling. Foust is a pretty decent shooter, but that can always improve. However, ball-handling is one of his major hurdles that he has to cross.

"Second, he needs to work on skills that will allow him to defend the guard position. Coach Sampson always says that you can't play a position if you can't guard the position. Defending the two or the three-guard may be a struggle in the beginning, but I think that is something that he will make an adjustment to do."

JH: Foust closed in such a great way. Has he been able to keep that momentum going this summer?

BS: "He is playing with tremendous confidence right now. Every time our guys get done playing I ask them who is playing well and Foust's name seems to come up more times than not. This is a guy that ended this season on a very good note, and again with the strength and conditioning that he is going through and getting more comfortable with his ball-handling, he is really going to help us next year.

"He is going to be a match-up problem when it comes to rebounding because it is going to be a very difficult job for our opponents to keep him off the boards from the wing. I think that is the one area where he is really going to help us a great deal at guard or the wing."

JH: What about the development of Larry Turner?

BS: "For one, I think Larry needs to work on his hands and catching the ball. Larry is such a big guy and he has put on weight and gotten stronger. He has actually gotten a little bigger since the end of the season, if you can imagine that.

"Larry needs to work on catching the ball in the post and getting good position. He needs to learn to take his time in scoring the ball because Larry has the ability to score the basketball, but the thing that he does so well, and it showed towards the end of the year, is his defense. Larry is a tough guy to shoot over because he is so strong and so physical. We want him to work on his hands this summer and learn how to knock down an eight to 10 foot shot."

JH: How much bigger is he?

BS: "Larry is a little wider, his arms are a little bigger and he is a little stronger. He is going to be a force to be reckoned with inside."

JH: Is Kevin Bookout close to being back to 100 percent?

BS: "He is very close. Kevin is such a perfectionist. He went to the doctor the other day and they told him to hold it back a little bit. They did that because every single day he is in that gym shooting the basketball trying to get better. So they pulled the reigns back a little bit, but there is nothing wrong with his shoulder, except for fatigue.

"He is way ahead of schedule, but the medical staff is afraid because of his work ethic that he will hurt the shoulder again. Kevin is a little bit ahead of schedule in terms of his rehab. He is doing the rehab every day and he is beginning to do some light lifting. I think once October rolls around Kevin will be 100 percent."

JH: Will Bookout be a better jump shooter next season?

BS: "Oh, absolutely he will this year. Kevin was a big part of our team and when he went down we struggled with out him because he will demand a double-team in the post. This year, with a healthy Bookout, the sky is the limit for us."

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