Hoops: OU Inks 4-Star Center

NORMAN, Okla. - Oklahoma men's basketball head coach Jeff Capel followed up last night's win over 21st-ranked Davidson with a victory on the recruiting trail today, announcing the signing of consensus top-50 player Keith "Tiny" Gallon to a national letter of intent.

From Houston, Texas, Gallon is a 6-9, 300-pound senior at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., who is averaging 18.8 points and 11.1 rebounds for his 8-0 squad. He is ranked No. 21 nationally by ESPN, No. 31 by Rivals.com and No. 37 by Scout.com. ESPN ranks him No. 3 among centers while Rivals.com and Scout.com rate him No. 5.

"This is a great day for our program, to have Tiny officially become a Sooner," said Capel, whose Sooners are 3-0 and ranked No. 12 in the AP poll. "I think Tiny is one of the elite players in this class, definitely one of the elite post players in this class. He's a really big kid, but a really skilled kid. He can score it, can pass it, can shoot the ball well. He's got long arms and he moves really well. We're excited about him.

"This completes our class and we got all the guys we wanted at every position."

Gallon joins a heralded group of four other high school seniors who signed with OU last week. They are point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin (ranked No. 24 by Scout.com), forward Andrew Fitzgerald (ranked No. 63 by ESPN), wing Steven Pledger (ranked No. 92 by ESPN) and forward Kyle Hardrick (four-star recruit by Scout.com).

"Tiny was the guy from the beginning in the post who we really wanted to go after," said Capel. "When you add him to Andrew Fitzgerald and Kyle Hardrick, and to the big guys we'll have returning, we feel really good about our post players for the future."

The four-man group Capel signed last week was ranked No. 14 by Scout.com. But Gallon's addition has catapulted the Sooners' class into the top 10.

"As it stands today, this moves OU to No. 8 in our national rankings," said Dave Telep, Scout.com national recruiting director.

"Tiny Gallon is an extremely interesting guy," continued Telep. "First of all, he's done a really good job getting himself trimmer at Oak Hill. I saw him a few weeks ago when he had 34 (points) and 15 (rebounds). He has those types of performances in him. He's a guy who's nimble on his feet for as big as he is.

"He's a heck of a talent and I think this really gives Oklahoma a recruiting class for the ages. They've got a lot of pieces to work with - two true forwards, a big center, a point guard and a guy who can really bang it from downtown. That's a heck of a recruiting class."

Oak Hill Academy head coach Steve Smith praised Gallon for his recent willingness to lose weight.

"He's a big guy, but he's lost about 35 pounds from last year and he's continuing to lose weight right now. He's really watching what he eats - less meat and more vegetables - and he never did that until this year. So I'm really happy with his progress in taking care of his body and trimming down."

Smith added, "He's an immensely skilled post player who has the ability to face the basket. We're 8-0 and he's our leading scorer and leading rebounder. He's got a very good chance to be a McDonald's All-American. He's a very efficient scorer and is shooting about 75 percent from the floor. He could score even more, but he plays on a team that starts five Division I players. He's very unselfish."

The Sooners host Gardner-Webb Saturday at 1 p.m. (not televised) before leaving for New York City and the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals and championship rounds, to be played Nov. 26 and 28 at Madison Square Garden.

Sooners Illustrated Top Stories