New Sooner assistant has Oklahoma ties

OUInsider.com goes one-on-one with new Oklahoma assistant basketball coach Oronde Taliaferro.

OU Men's Basketball Coach Jeff Capel recently hired one of the top 25 assistant coaches in the country when he lured Oronde Taliaferro away from a number of different suitors to join his staff in Norman. Taliaferro takes over the spot left vacant by the departure of Rod Barns, who became the Head Coach at Georgia State .

The 35-year old Taliaferro spent the last six seasons as the top assistant to Stan Heath at Arkansas. Heath was fired this past season despite leading the Razorbacks to the NCAA Tournament. Heath took over as head coach at South Florida and asked Taliaferro to follow him, but fortunately for OU he has ties in Oklahoma and wanted to expand his knowledge of the game.

Earlier this week, Taliaferro found a couple of minutes to talk to go one-on-one with OUInsider.com

JH: Coach, welcome to Oklahoma.

OT: "Thanks a lot and I am very happy to be on board."

JH: You could have gone to a number of different programs, so please talk about your decision to join the staff of Jeff Capel at OU?

OT: "Obviously, I took some time to think about going to South Florida with Stan Heath and the guys he took with him down there. With him being a longtime friend, and really close like a family member, that is something that I considered closely. For the same reason, I decided to consider some other things just to broaden my resume and to add some new things to help my career.

"When it came down to it with some of the schools that I considered, I just figured there were only a few places in the country where there is a chance to win a National Championship, and there are only a certain number of people that you can hitch your wagon to start to get you to some of the places that you want to go to. I felt that Jeff Capel was that kind of person. I definitely felt that Oklahoma, with the tradition and some of the success of the past, is a place where those kind of special things can happen here."

JH: So you are coming into a program where you feel you can win?

OT: "Absolutely. Through the past and several different decades, Oklahoma has made it to the Final Four and has been very successful. Like I mentioned, things are set up only at certain places I feel throughout the country where those possibilities are there. Here at Oklahoma, I definitely feel those possibilities are there. I definitely feel those things can happen here."

JH: You are noted as a great recruiter. What is your philosophy when it comes to recruiting?

OT: "Recruiting is a people business. You have to have relationships and you have to kind of have a network a circle of people that can get you in some doors. That is one thing that is very important. To be honest, recruiting is a team thing. It is definitely something, as a staff we, will all have to kind of piggyback and help each other out. When you're selling something, which recruiting is, it really helps when you truly feel that you are being honest about the things that you tell a parent or a kid. So when you are talking about OU or you are talking about Jeff and his staff, those things will be easy for me to sell."

JH: One thing that I have noticed is that at every place you either played or coached at, your team won.

OT: "Well, I have been fortunate from that aspect to be quite honest with you. I have been a part of some good teams as a player and as a coach. I have been fortunate to have some really good success in my career. To be honest with you, I think the thing that shows up in each situation is being surrounded by quality people who put winning as the primary goal. When those things happen, then success normally follows."

JH: Is it true that you have some ties to the state of Oklahoma?

OT: "My dad was born here and several of my uncles and aunts still live here. I spend a lot of time coming to family reunions here and had some great times. I had some great memories growing up coming down here. I always had fun with what we called the clay dirt and watching OU sports."

JH: I heard you are a big fan of the Brian Bosworth and Billy Simms?

OT: "Absolutely. I loved those teams back then. I was also a big fan of Keith Jackson, who was my favorite tight end. On the basketball side, Mookie Blaylock was my favorite player. And I really thought Wayman Tisdale was great, as well as Stacey King."

JH: Brag on your family a little bit. You have it made with a house full of girls with your wife, Kim, and three daughters, Errin, Kaela and Lynsey.

OT: "That is my crew. I am always undefeated with the girls, win or lose, when I come home after a big game. I always get the big hug and a big kiss. It kind of separates you from all the pressure and turmoil that you deal with in terms of the hustle and bustle of a job like this. They are sweet."

JH: Is Kim the kind of wife that will ask why you didn't go to zone earlier in the game?

OT: "No, she is just comes and cheers. She just shows up to support the guys and support the coaching staff. She has never been the kind of wife that will second-guess decisions that we made. She is never critical of the players, he is just rooting for us hard. She is just going to want us to win."

JH: Congratulations on your new gig at OU and best of luck to you and your family.

OT: "Thank you very much."



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