Paris sees a title in Oklahoma's future

Oklahoma freshman center Courtney Paris says she's found the right fit at Oklahoma. Paris and the Sooners will tip-off their exhibition season at 7 p.m. tonight inside the Lloyd Noble Center against Oklahoma Christian. Admission is free to the public.

The 25th-ranked Oklahoma women's basketball team will open their exhibition season Thursday night at the Lloyd Noble Center when they host Oklahoma Christian at 7:00 p.m.

The game will mark the first time that Courtney and Ashley Paris actually wear the Crimson and Cream. Courtney is expected to be the starting post while her sister Ashley will be the first post off the bench.

Coming out of high school, Courtney was ranked the No. 1 player in the country and OU head coach Sherri Coale says that she has a chance to be one of the greatest players ever in women's college basketball.

Courtney has heard such high praise all her life and she is ready to show her stuff in an Oklahoma uniform. Recently, she took a timeout from practice to talk to OUInsider for the Two Minute Drill.

JH: Has the adjustment from high school to college basketball been that big of an adjustment for you at this point?

CP: "During my recruiting process I looked for a team where I could fit in and where they play the kind of basketball that I like to play. Believe it or not, I like to get into an up and down game and I think it just really gets things going. I think I picked a team where we are going to do well.

"We have an outside presence. Our guards have been shooting the ball, handling the ball and they are smart. What post player wouldn't want to play with that? So, I think fitting in will be the easiest thing with this team."

JH: During the recruiting process you told me that you and your sister were looking for a program where you could make a 'wow' statement and get them over the top to win a National Championship. And then you went out and committed to OU early. What did you see in Oklahoma that made you believe they are close to becoming an elite team in women's college basketball?

CP: "The basketball part was there, the people were there and the facilities were there. OU just fit for us. In terms of these girls, I show up at practice every day and I practice with 10 of the best people that I have ever met, and the best coaching staff that you can have. I just feel very lucky to be at Oklahoma."

JH: How has practice gone so far?

CP: "I think practice has gone very well. I think as freshmen Ashley, me and Carolyn (Winchester) do pretty well, but every once in a while you have a new drill that will cause us to make freshman mistakes. But we have great leadership to help us through it. We have great seniors on this team and it shows up. They have really taken us in and it seems every second they are helping us through our plays.

"Beky (Preston) will sit there and call out on every play every step we are supposed to make. I can hear her in my head saying, "down low, high post or baseline.' I never feel stuffed and that is the best thing about it, because we have such great leaders on this team."

JH: I hope by gametime that you don't have to keep listening for Beky, especially if the arena is full and you can't hear yourself think?

CP: "I hope I know the plays by then. I better know them by then."

JH: Ever since you signed with OU people have been talking about the OU women's basketball program. There has never been this much conversation about the OU women's program before, so do you two realize how much you two have meant to the program despite the fact you haven't even played a game yet?

CP: "I never really focus on that. I think that is a good thing not only for Oklahoma women's basketball, but for women's basketball in general. I know Oklahoma has been predominately a football school, but now girl's basketball has made the front page of the newspaper and people are talking on the streets about the women's program, and that is a big step. I just think that is awesome all-around for our sport."

JH: When I met your dad (Bubba Paris) he seems proud of you, but not so proud to admit that you could beat him in basketball. However, he seems to be enjoying the fact that you two are playing college basketball?

CP: "I love my dad. He has really helped me a lot as far as the mentality that you have to have on the court and how to compete at such a high level. Take the basketball side out of it and he is just a great guy. I just love him so much."

JH: How good can this team be?

CP: "I think the sky is truly the limit for us. I think we have the talent and the basketball IQ on this team to be a great team. It is basically just going out and getting it done and practicing hard. It is just like our team motto that is in the locker room, and that is to 'Earn it'.

There is no reason why we can't win a National Championship. Our first goal is to win the preseason NIT, but I see a National Championship in our future. How soon is the only question?"

JH: Do you and Ashley have different games?

CP: "Yeah, mine is a lot better! No, I am just kidding. I think we really do because I have always been that power post. My mentality is to get down on the lower block and ask for the ball. I want to be more of a dominating powerful presence.

"Ashley has a more versatile game in that she can dribble around and shoot the outside shot. We definitely play different positions. She is more of a four and I am more of a classic power post player."

JH: So she will throw the ball into you expecting you to throw it back to her for an open jumper, but instead you always fake it to her and shoot a power hook instead right?

CP: "Hey, every once in a while I will throw it back out. You just never know what is going on, I might just surprise you. No, really I am probably going to shoot it because that is what a good post is going to do. Heck, she is my sister. She understands that!"

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