Godbold shows his true freshman colors in KU win

Oklahoma guard David Godbold shoots over Kansas' Wayne Simien in the second half of the Sooners' 71-63 win Monday in Norman. Godbold recorded a career-high 15 points in the win. See inside for Sooners Illustrated Editor Jay C. Upchurch's postgame interview with the Sooner freshman. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

NORMAN — Each time Oklahoma needed an answer on Big Monday, somebody in a Sooner uniform responded. Johnnie Gilbert stepped up. Drew Lavender stepped up. Terrell Everett did. And so did Kevin Bookout.

But on a night when foul trouble relegated leading scorer Taj Gray to just 13 minutes of action, the Sooners needed one more major shot in the arm. They got it from David Godbold, the true freshman who continued to show an uncanny knack for making the big play.

Godbold scored a career-high 15 points and matched his career best rebound total with seven in helping No. 22 OU topple eighth-ranked Kansas 71-63. But more than stats, it was the rookie's poise and resilience that most aided the Sooners' cause.

"(David's) an unbelievable character kid and he's got a great attitude and he keeps working to get better," said OU coach Kelvin Sampson, whose team improved to 20-6 overall and 9-4 in league play. "David's one of those kids who doesn't want a lot of attention. He just plays the game."

While Godbold still looks raw at times — his turnover in the final seconds against K-State almost cost OU the game; and vs. Kansas, he missed a dunk that would have further helped put the game on ice — he is playing well beyond his years and experience.

Sooners Illustrated editor Jay C. Upchurch talked to the Oklahoma City native after the Sooners' victory on Big Monday:

SIQ: How big is this win for Oklahoma?
Godbold: It's a really big win because it is a stepping stone to bigger and better things. I think we will be able to look back on this game and know we are good enough to beat a good team in a close game. It's definitely something we can build on because I think this win shows us how good we are and how good we can be. It's a pretty good measure of how games are going to be the rest of the way.

SIQ: Going back to the K-State game on Saturday, how important was it to escape Manhattan with a win?
Godbold: That was everything. I was so glad Drew (Lavender) had my back that day. I made a crazy turnover there that hurt us, but I knew someone on my team was going to step up and make a big play, and I'm glad it was Drew. That was just a huge win for us.

SIQ: How many different emotions did you experience during the final 10 seconds at K-State?
Godbold: Oh man, all of them. The first thing I wondered was if I was going to be able to show my face on the bus. And then when Drew made the shot, I was like looking for him to thank him for getting me off the hook. That was so sweet.

SIQ: Is the performance against Kansas a good indicator of what this team is ready to do the rest of the season?
Godbold: I think so. If we play defense the way we did most of tonight and rebound the ball, I think we can beat anybody. Those are the things we've got to continue to focus on and improve as we go into the next few weeks.

SIQ: What is your take on the contributions you are making for this team this season?
Godbold: I'm incredibly glad I've been given an opportunity to be a part of this team and help this team out. Whatever Coach Sampson wants me to do, I'll do it.

SIQ: Do you still feel like the new kid on the block out there or are you getting more comfortable?
Godbold: I'm still a little nervous when I'm out there, but I'm getting used to the idea and learning more and more about my role with the team. It's a good nervous.

SIQ: Did you ever dream you'd be playing such a huge role with this team as a freshman?
Godbold: I had no idea. But Coach Sampson has shown a lot of confidence in me and he's told me I'm free to play my game out there as long as I'm making smart decisions. That's my total focus every game — be smart and know my role.

SIQ: OU is 3-0 since you were inserted into the lineup. What has been the main difference in the change?
Godbold: I believe any lineup we put out there is going to do well. It just so happens we've played pretty well the last few games. But we've got a lot of good players and a lot of different lineups that can win games.

SIQ: Are you having fun?
Godbold: Oh yes. I'm thrilled to be in this situation, playing for a great program and a great coach. It's special.

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