Capel Expects Smoother Start In Second Season At Oklahoma

Wednesday, October 24th 2007, 9:46 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- After taking over for Kelvin Sampson last year, Jeff Capel had limited contact with his players once he arrived from Virginia Commonwealth.

This year, a Labor Day weekend trip to Canada and the 10 days of practice that preceded it gave Capel an early chance to mold his team and build on his first year in Norman.

Capel has returning players Keith Clark, UCLA transfer Ryan Wright and Longar Longar, the top returning scorer and rebounder.

Add to that a recruiting class that includes McDonald's All-American power forward Blake Griffin and junior college transfer Omar Leary at point guard, and Capel has reason to be optimistic.

Griffin comes to the Sooners after winning four straight state titles at Oklahoma Christian School. His averages of 18.8 points and nine rebounds during four exhibition games in Canada were tops on the team, and they came in only 22 minutes per game.

The improvements will be needed if OU wants to return to postseason play after snapping a 25-year streak of NIT and NCAA tournament berths that was the longest in Division I.