Leary says he'll bring leadership

Northeastern Colorado junior college point guard Omar Leary talks about his game and commitment to Oklahoma.

 Jeff Capel needed a point guard for the OU Men's Basketball team and today he got one in Junior College All-American Omar Leary (5'11) out of Northeastern CC., Colorado .

JH: How did all this come about for you to come to Oklahoma?

OL: "It really was a blessing. My team had been playing solid all year and we went undefeated in our region. We went to the National Tournament with aspirations of winning a National Championship, but we got knocked off in the first round by a team that we should have beaten. So we had to get it done through the consolation bracket and we won the consolation bracket. We were able to extend our season by three or four games and several other coaches were able to see us. I guess some of the OU coaches were there and I was able to perform well. That is just how it came about it. Being a first team All-American, a lot of teams had jumped on me and it really just all happened in a rush for me."

JH: You had signed with Colorado State right?

OL: "Yeah, I had signed with Colorado State and right before the National Tournament. But Coach Dale Lear was fired and I got released from my scholarship because I didn't know exactly what direction they were going on with the coaching change."

JH: Were you back on the open market while the playoffs were going on or did you call Oklahoma and let them know of your situation?

OL: "They had a chance to see me at the first game and then we got bumped, so I think they had left to go to another tournament. I believe they were there to see one game and I was back on the market at the tournament. All the coaches were aware of my situation, because in the coaching world it doesn't take long for word to get out when some players are released, like me and my teammate Shane Edwards, who got out of his scholarship."

JH: Where is Shane going?

OL: "He just took a visit to Little Rock last weekend and he went to Long Beach State this weekend. I think his decision is going to be narrowed down to those two schools this week."

JH: Besides Oklahoma, what schools did you look at once you got released from Colorado State?

OL: "It was a myriad of schools ranging from low majors to mid majors to high majors. From the Big 12, it was Nebraska, CU and then just OU. I was also offered by New Mexico, Utah, Duquesne and Cleveland State. There were a lot of schools that showed interest, but I wasn't quite sure what direction or what level of the majors that I was going to focus on."

JH: How did it all come together for you to visit OU this weekend? What happened on the visit?

OL: "Coach Ben Betts actually was able to come out and see me play about a month ago. He was able to see me play with my team out here. He went back to OU and gave word to Coach (Jeff) Capel and then Coach Capel came out here after his daughter was born and was able to see me. That's when we set up the visit this weekend to OU. A lot of the guys were real cool and I think when I played with them I think we jelled well. I think the missing link with them is having that strong leadership out there at point guard so that we can make a top run into the NCAA Tournament."

JH: Tell us what kind of game will you be bringing to Oklahoma ?

OL: "I think I will bring leadership. I think I am able to keep a calm composure as I am always trying to get some things done. Ever since I have been playing basketball my main focus has been winning, and I have had success in the winning category. That is what I want to bring to OU. I can score the ball, pass the ball and I have really just an unselfish approach toward the game. I will do anything to benefit the team from that point guard role."

JH: Do you consider yourself a shooter or a scorer?

OL: "I can shoot the ball and I can take it to the basket. I think I kind of play a game within the game depending on how close the defender is playing me to rely on it and use it to my advantage. I feel I am pretty well off in the categories of my offensive game."

JH: How about as a three-point shooter? How well do you shoot the ball?

OL: "My freshman year here in junior college I shot 49 percent percent from the 3. This year I shot 47 percent from the 3."

JH: Now that they are going to move that 3-point shot back a foot, how well do you think you can shoot it?

OL: "That is not a problem for me. I will make sure I put shooting in all my off-season drills in the summer. Just the repetition of shooting, lifting and being strong and being confident that you are going to knock the shot down then 9 times out of 10 it will go in."

JH: When will you arrive in Norman?

OL: "It will be in the summer around June 1st. I have a math class that I have to complete, but I am going to try to get that done as soon as possible within the month of May. Hopefully, I can get down there when the rest of the guys get down there in June."

JH: Now that you have seen some of the talent at OU, and you have said you think you are the missing link, was is your take on the Sooners' chances next year to get back to the NCAA Tournament?

OL: "I definitely think we can win. I feel like if everyone has the confidence that they can go out and win this thing, then why not us? Why not us? Let's just go out and get it. We have all the pieces that if every one accepts their job and does what they are supposed to do in the right positions, then we will have success. All we have to do is to be confident and get everybody on the right page. I have no reason in my mind not to think that we can't make a run at this thing."

JH: Why did you end up in junior college?

OL: "I was a partial qualifier coming out of high school. It was the last couple of weeks of school and I was holding off for a Division-1 offer, because I had some Division-1 interest. Eventually, I knew I was going to have to go to junior college just because of how poor my score was on my SAT."

JH: What did you average in high school?

OL: "My senior year I averaged 27 points per game. We made it to the Sweet 16 my senior year."

JH: You visited OU with UCLA transfer Ryan Wright. Did he give you any impression what he is going to do?

OL: "He said he was going to go ahead and take a visit to Purdue next week. Then he is going to make his decision based off of his visits to Purdue and Oklahoma. I think he really enjoyed it though, because while we were at the airport he was really complementing the great time he had on his visit to OU."



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