“As a coach, I’ve never been a part of having things like this happen,” Capel said. “It’s a learning experience for us all.”
Capel then referenced something he’d heard Pat Riley say to the effect that, “Adversity introduces a man to himself.”
Apparently, some guys on Capel’s team have yet to shake hands with the reflection in the mirror.
“Some of the things we’ve gone through have been self-inflicted because of stupid decisions that our guys have made,” Capel said. “Some of them have been things you can’t really control.
“But that’s life. I’ve always felt my main job was to help these guys grow. Certainly you want to win doing that — and it’s frustrating not winning — but we certainly are learning a lot of life lessons.
“It’s painful sometimes as you go through it, but somewhere down the road, this will make all of us better.”
One can only hope.
The aforementioned stupidity (see the shoplifting citations for freshmen Steven Pledger and Andrew Fitzgerald, for instance) is rampant. Include the ongoing failure-to-get-it season from McDonald’s All-America disappointment Tiny Gallon, and the half-season it took for rookie point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin to come around (he’s still not a great defender).
Add some other non-public issues, and you can understand Capel’s comments after the Sooners’ 77-67 loss at Colorado on Wednesday night.
“We have too many agendas on our team,” he said. “Until everyone can submit to the team, it’s going to be tough for us going forward.It’s a lot of different things. That’s on me and our coaching staff. We have to figure out a way to do a better job in a lot of areas in our program.
“At times we’re not a very smart basketball team. Again, I attribute that to guys having too many agendas…instead of it just being about OU winning.
“I have not done a good job of getting these guys to understand when we win, everyone looks good. When we don’t win, it’s for nothing. It doesn’t matter what anyone did or how many points, or whatever. I don’t care about any of that stuff when we don’t win.”
There is some good news.
One, Gallon’s supposed indefinite suspension for an “internal matter” is over. He played at CU. I’ve heard from several places the university was exploring some kind of previous possible contact with an agent or a runner.
Apparently — or Gallon wouldn’t be back on the court — OU is satisfied nothing significant occurred.
The other smidgen of good news is that Willie Warren apparently didn’t have a serious case of mononucleosis. He played 30 minutes at Colorado and scored a game-high 19 points.
Willie said Wednesday he’s feeling good, except for a continually sore ankle, though he’s still taking antibiotics.
“It has been a long season,” Warren said. “Stuff just hasn’t been going our way on or off the court. Luckily, we’re a young team and we can learn from our mistakes for next year and the year after that.
“We’ve just got to keep working and hopefully see some improvement.”
A blinking red light: Oklahoma’s season took an early downturn. Texas’ season came apart just when it should have been gaining momentum.
And it continues to be a one-step-forward, one-step-back proposition for the Longhorns heading into the Texas Tech game Saturday.
Case in point: Against a good defensive team in Nebraska, Texas moves the ball and produces 19 assists against 13 turnovers and hits 22 of 30 free throws. A game later against a really-not-that-aggressive Missouri team, the Longhorns fall into the same old pattern — 11 assists, 18 turnovers and 10-of-19 at the line.
“It’s amazing,” coach Rick Barnes said Thursday. “I keep thinking in my head how you go from playing the game we played against Nebraska…and you turn around and revert right back?
“Do you call it immaturity? Do you call it lack of leadership?
“I could give you coach-speak and say we’re close — and the fact is we are — but what is it going to take for them to do it this time of year? You should be doing it right now. I don’t know what else to say about it.”
Freshman J’Covan Brown appeared to revert to slack defensive play and a propensity for the spectacular when routine would serve. Though Barnes was pleased with Jordan Hamilton overall (24 points,), the best pure shooter on the team was 1-of-6 at the line.
Rail about Dexter Pittman if you want, but the fact is the guards aren’t getting him the ball to do what he does best. And they also often ignore steady forward Gary Johnson.
On-court leadership is missing and really has been all year. When things are slipping, no player calls the group together and calls a halt to things — as D.J. Augustin did, and to some extent A.J. Abrams.
Sooner or later, it’s up to the team. Too late looms as the next stop for Texas.
High marks: Far as I’m concerned, we can pass out both the newcomer and defensive player of the year honors to Baylor forward Ekpe Udoh.
With 109 blocked shots, the Michigan transfer out of Oklahoma has already shattered the Bears’ school record (98) held by Brian Skinner (1994-98) and is only 10 away from owning the Big 12 record of 118 by Iowa State’s Kelvin Cato, set in the league’s first season (1997-98).
Transform Baylor’s previously questionable defense?
“He would transform any team,” said Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford, whose Cowboys (18-7, 6-5) get a second look at Udoh and the Bears (20-5, 7-4) Saturday.
Udoh scored 13 with 11 rebounds, three blocks and two assists in Baylor’s previous 83-70 victory.
He’s also scored Baylor’s winning bucket in consecutive games.
A Frank statement: Jack Gardner (1939-42, ’46-53), Tex Winter (1953-68) and Jack Hartman (1970-86) were successful coaches and are now part of hoops lore at Kansas State.
And while the big news this week for the Wildcats (21-4, 8-3 Big 12) concerned their highest-ever ranking at No. 7, third-year coach Frank Martin quietly became the program’s first coach to win 20 or more games each of his first three seasons.