Big XII: Serious Sooner

By Jean Neuberger - October 19, 2006

As he stepped up to the podium for his first Media Days, Jeff Capel had no smile on his face. The no-nonsense Oklahoma coach means business, and he let that be known the instant he began to speak.

"We have to be patient," Capel said. "It's a new ball game. However, basketball is basketball."

Capel made that the theme of his press conference, emphasizing that the basics win ball games.

"It is what it is," said Capel, when asked about being one of six new head coaches in the Big XII this season. "It's my first year at OU, but not my first as a head coach. I really don't care about the other coaches or teams though. I'm only worried about Oklahoma. Basketball is basketball. We have to be good at the fundamentals, and that's what I'm going to be teaching our guys. I'm focused only on OU. I don't care about anyone else."

Capel also left no room for probation being an excuse this season.

"I don't anticipate it being a hindrance at all," Capel said. "The school wants to do right. A mistake was made. We'll adjust and keep going. It's our last year under probation anyway."

And as for the conference tournament being at Oklahoma City's Ford Center, Capel's reaction was somewhat Jekyll and Hyde.

"We're excited to have the conference tournament in Oklahoma City," said Capel. "We're excited to play in front of all the Sooner fans here. I'm used to this, as when I was at VCU, our conference tournament was held eight blocks down the road."

With a deep sigh, Capel's brow wrinkled and his facial expression turned in an instant from somewhat cheerful to stern.

"However, being here doesn't matter. We still have to be a good team," he said.

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 10:15 AM on October 19, 2006

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