Patillo the Sooner X-Factor?

NORMAN, OKLA -- When head coach Jeff Capel and the Sooners pulled the redshirt off junior forward Juan Patillo, they pulled an x-factor out of the bag as well.

Juan Patillo has shot a scorching 73 percent in the last two contests in 37 minutes of play.

Against Baylor last Saturday in what was really his coming out party, he knocked down four of his five shots en route to scoring nine points, and he also snatched three rebounds in the game.

In the Sooners' latest contest against Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Big Monday, he was 4-for-6 from the field and shot a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line for 12 points, and he also had three rebounds in 23 minutes.

While it may have come as a surprise to many, Capel said there were indications Patillo would step up his game.

"I saw it yesterday in practice," Capel said after the Baylor game. "He played today like he practiced yesterday. This has been a really tough thing for Juan, for all of us. He made the decision to get out of the redshirt and play against Texas . The next two games [weren't ideal]. It didn't really happen like he envisioned it happening. There was maybe some doubt. You can't play this game with doubt. You have to be fully committed and all in."

In the last two games, he has been, and he might just be the extra post player the Sooners need to give Preseason All-American sophomore forward Blake Griffin a solid break when he needs one.

"I think he takes us to another level," Griffin said. "Like you saw on missed shots, just him coming in and crashing the boards, rebounding, making key stops on defense and just pressuring people. It gives them a lot of problems."

Older brother and fellow forward, senior Taylor Griffin was quick to reinforce his younger brother's comments about Patillo and raising the Sooners to another level.

"We know how talented he is, but nobody else really knew or has gotten to see it yet," Taylor said. "That's the reason he's here. He helps us tremendously."

Perhaps the most dangerous thing about Patillo is the versatility in his game, the ability to play in many different spots on the floor.

"The best thing about Juan is that he can guard anybody on the floor," Taylor said. "He can guard the five-man because he is long and athletic. He can guard the point guard because he's quick and really athletic."

With a solid rotation of the Griffin brothers, Patillo and junior forward Ryan Wright, the Sooners' post play is very strong.

If the guards can complement them down the stretch, OU could be in for a major run in the NCAA Tournament in March.

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