Hoops: Opening Night Thoughts

The Sooners got the 2008-2009 season started in the right way with a big win over American. The OU hoops team came out of the gate dominating and in this feature we take a closer look at some of the individual play.

OU Defense – The biggest positive of the night may have been the way that the Sooners played defense. They were able to limit American's Garrison Carr to 11 points and held the Eagles to 35 percent from the field. The perimeter defense was strong as well and the Eagles were only able to hit 6-of-22 from three-point range. They did have some open shots that they did not capitalize on, but for the most part OU was able to keep a lot of pressure on their three point scoring threats.

Blake Griffin – Griffin's game continues to evolve. At 6-foot-10 it is almost scary what he can do with the ball in his hands. He has an even better feel inside the lane and uses his body to make exciting things happen inside. Late in the second half he put on a clinic with two impressive dunks and an alley-oop slam on an assist from Austin Johnson, but he caught everyone's attention when he drained his first career three-pointer from the top of the key. Griffin also promises that his free throw shooting will be better….

Willie Warren – Warren got off to a slow start and was ice cold from outside the arc, but he started to make some more things happen in the second stanza. He is guy that is able to create baskets off of the dribble. He is so strong and mobile that he will be tough to defend when he puts the ball on the floor, and as his game develops that will make the OU offense even that much tougher to defend. Because of his physicality he should see a lot of shots from the foul stripe as well.

Cade Davis – Davis is the perfect sixth man. He provides an instant spark when he hits the floor. He understands his role clearly and he is going to make buckets in transition or against the zone. He is not just a spot up shooter anymore. Playing with the second team in the second half he took even more of a scorer's role and made a nice move to get past an Eagle defender and finished it all off with a reverse lay-up. The Sooners will need his outside presence to be a threat in March.

Taylor Griffin – Taylor does not get a lot of the headlines like his brother, but he is more than an integral part to the team. He is an excellent defender and runs the court well. He has nice feet and does not commit a lot of stupid fouls. He can do some things in the lane with the ball in his hands.

Tony Crocker – This guy could be a huge key to the team's success. He committed a bad foul early on, but he is sorely needed on the offensive end of the floor. The offense is running through Blake Griffin, but they need a number two guy. Warren may indeed evolve in to that second scoring threat, but he is not yet there. Crocker will need to provide some punch.

Orlando Allen – The big "O" got some time late in the game and he has a tremendous offensive inside game. He understands how to use his wide frame to his advantage, but right now he is a liability on defense. He is really aggressive and he likes to leave his feet. He is so big and strong that just a slight bump will get called on him every single time.

The Rest- It almost seems a shame to not talk more about Ryan Wright and Austin Johnson, but they had good games as well. Wright is a great all-around guy and Johnson was able to make a lot of good things happen by distributing the ball.

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