Q&A with Kelvin Sampson

OU's head coach talks about his teams' momentum, defenisve improvement and Wednesday's game against Baylor. (AP Photo/Jerry Laizure)

The Oklahoma Sooner men's basketball team has won two straight in the crazy Big 12 Conference, and now they head to Waco, Texas Wednesday night to battle the Baylor Bears. Before practice today, OU Head Coach Kelvin Sampson stopped to talked with OUInsider.com about OU's win streak and Wednesday's matchup against the Bears.

JH: Your team has a little momentum and you are getting your health back. Are they beginning to gain some confidence?

KS: "We are a team that needs our parts. You can't just manufacture better shooters. Our guys do the best they can. Terrell (Everett) is a slasher, David (Godbold) is a role player. Everybody kind of has their deal that they do, but Michael Neal has a role on this team. We are progressing and I don't think we are near as good as we are going to be as the season progresses. Winning is good, but I still think we need to play a lot better."

JH: You held Texas Tech to 12 points in the first half. Don't you think your defense is playing pretty well?

KS: "Yeah, that was good. But the second half I didn't think our defense was as good as it needed to be. I think our man-to-man in the last eight minutes was really good, but there were some spots where we didn't get out to keep them from hitting three's. You have to cover the 3-pointer, especially when a team is behind because their best shooters are going to take those shots.

"We will be challenged on that with Baylor, as they have a lot of guys who can make three's. Aaron Bruce has struggled a little bit thus far, but you know he is going to break out against somebody. I just hope it is not us."

JH: What are your thoughts on how well Austin Johnson played the point?

KS: "The thing that Austin has to do better is run the team and have more of an aggressive attitude. Austin is a good player, but he needs to develop a little more fiery personality. He has to get the team going when we get into tough spots. In every game, you are going to have dead spots because you are not going to play 40 minutes straight, but he is out there as a freshman just trying to survive at times.

"At that position, he needs to assume some leadership ability, which is very hard for a freshman to do when you have three senior's who have been around here for so long. Austin is progressing. He took five three's the other day and I thought all five of them were going in. One of these days he is going to have a performance like Michael Neal did. Austin is a good shooter." JH: Baylor does like to shoot the three don't they? KS: "Yeah, and they are getting closer. I would have much rather been the team that played them first or second (game) instead of now. Down the road, they are going to get better, better and better. Against Texas, they were down 21 in that game and cut it to six. They can be explosive, but we just have to go and be determined to play as hard as we can for forty minutes."


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