Coale hits the jackpot on signing day

Sherri Coale talks about signing the Paris twins and her Sooners' early progress so far this season.

The OU Women's Basketball team just scored their most important recruiting class under Head Coach Sherri Coale as the Paris twins — Courtney (6-4) and Ashley (6-2) — signed with the Sooners yesterday.

Courtney is ranked the No. 2 player in the country and Ashley is ranked anywhere form the seventh to ninth. Both give coach Coale her highest ranked recruits since she took over the Sooner program.

The current Sooners are ranked 25th in the country and will play their second exhibition game tonight against OCC. Earlier today, Coach Coale was on WWLS with yours truly and Bob Barry Jr. to talk about the signing of the Paris twins and this years Sooner team.

JH: Tell us your thoughts on signing the Paris twins?

SC: "They are a pretty hot commodity and it has been an interesting last five or six months. The lions share of this credit goes to Stacy Hansmeyer and Jan Ross. They both spent an awful long time on the telephone and did a great job of building relationships with these kids. I think that is what it came down to. We are so fortunate because sometimes the recruiting process comes down to all kinds of things other than what choosing a college is really about. The size of a dorm room or the climate of a particular campus, and really in the end it is who you play for and who you play with. It is what kind of relationships you are going to build in that process. Stacey and Jan just did an amazing job with these kids and built the relationship with them. Courtney and Ashley deserve a lot of credit for having the courage to say, you know what, we are not going to go to Connecticut where they have won six National Championships, but we are going to Oklahoma where they can win one for the first time."

BBJ: I am impressed because you didn't mope around after you lost out on Erika Arriaron (Texas). But I am sure you are happy with what you got, because you get two greats for one basically?

SC: "It is an awesome deal for us as it is a need that we have obviously, because we have a lot of guards and not nearly enough inside kids. Big skilled inside kids are just hard to come by and they are hard to find. Once you do find them they are really hard to land, because the few that are out there everybody wants. It is a great deal for our program. I think the thing that is so great about them is that they are going to fit with the guys that we have. People in Oklahoma are going to love Courtney and Ashley Paris."

JH: Your program is a top 25 program, but still growing in a number of ways. With this being your first national recruiting class, that has to enhance the image of your program even more wouldn't you say?

SC: "These guys are Final Four babies, these guys really are. They are kids that when we went to the Final Four and played Connecticut for the National Championship they were in California watching it on TV. Sometimes the tendency is to think that once you go to the Final Four that next recruiting class is going to be unbelievable, and that you are going to go get kids from all corners in the country because you were just at the nation's pinnacle. However, that is not how it happens. Kids start formulating their opinions and really getting involved with a school, thinking about a school and following them and thinking about their season when they are freshman and sophomores. Then, as juniors, they grow into it and a lot of kids. When we went to the National Championship game in San Antonio, a lot of the next class, or even the class after that, were kids who had been dreaming for years still of going to Connecticut or Tennessee. And then in 2002 we kind of hit it off with some young guys.

"Ashley and Courtney are products of that and they open up a whole new world for us potentially. We still have to go get those kids. We still have to go make those same connections and work out tails off to get them. However, the door has just cracked open with kids from coast-to-coast, because there is not a high school kid in America that doesn't know who Ashley and Courtney Paris are."

BBJ: Early returns on what you have seen from your team so far?

SC: "Stef (McGee) can really score and she has an uncanny eye for the rim. She has an easy shot and easy delivery. I think she is going to make us a great player. She has a lot to learn and she is spending more time being frustrated than anything right now, which is extremely typical for a freshman. She and Kelly Lamb have both had great starts as freshmen go. Their performances in the first exhibition game were outstanding. I have been pleased with everybody. We had a really good workout a couple of days ago and I quit early, because I didn't want to spend our very best possessions in the practice gym with nobody watching. So, we have good days and not so good days, but I like this crew. I like our depth and I like the fact that we have a lot of room to keep getting better as the season goes."

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