Big Moments Ahead for OU Hoops?

Oklahoma Sooner basketball fans have a lot to be excited about. With the long term signing of Jeff Capel and the return of Blake Griffin the Sooners will be considered by many as one of the favorites to win the Big 12 and compete for a bid to the Final Four.

Big moments define college basketball.

Everyone remembers some of the big moments from our Sooner favorites like Wayman Tisdale and Stacy King.

I guess that today's fans can count their lucky stars because they were blessed with two big moments after the 2007-2008 season when Jeff Capel and Blake Griffin both announced that they would be returning to the LNC next year.

Griffin, an All-Big 12 selection, led the team in minutes played and field goal percentage and nearly averaged a double-double for the season by averaging 14.7 points per game and 9.1 rebounds.

While his numbers were not gaudy his rock solid play helped make him one of the top NBA prospects in the college game, and's national basketball pundit Dave Telep agrees that his return to the college game may have been the biggest news of the off-season.

"I think the big news is Blake, because you just got to have him," Telep began. "His presence changes the expectation level of their season."

"I think people see Jeff Capel as the foundation of Oklahoma basketball and now Blake Griffin is the guy that can start to build on that foundation. It is a big deal to get him back."

Griffin elected to skip out on the 2008 NBA draft, but Telep believes that his stock should rise as his game matures at Oklahoma.

"Theoretically it is going to help him increase his stock, but the obvious assessment in theory is that he will move up in next year's draft," Telep explained. "It is up to him to play that way next year, so it is a dual-edged sword."

The hiring of Bob Stoops for the OU football program may have been one of the most savvy moves by an AD (Joe Castiglione) in recent memory, but the move to bring in Jeff Capel from Virginia Commonwealth could rival that hiring if things progress in the same manner that they have so far in Capel's tenure.

So far in his two years at OU his teams have been rebuilding and still managed to compile a record of 39-27 and advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

"Jeff Capel was in the very early stages of his career when they plucked him away from VCU," Telep said when asked how keen an eye OU had when they made the move to bring Capel in. "He recruits good classes and he coaches his team extremely well. He is a young head coach that is growing with the program."

"He makes excellent decision on his evaluations and they are producing on the floor. There is no reason to think that Jeff Capel and Oklahoma basketball do not grow together."

OU fans hope the duo of Capel and Griffin combined with a strong supporting cast will start to produce some of those big moments when March rolls back around in 2009…

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