Along Came Jones


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May 15, 2009
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DISCLAIMER: These thoughts are not from a professional. These thoughts are from an unabashed Sooner BBall fanatic whose glasses are tinted heavily crimson. I’m not a coach, I’m not an analyst, I’m just a guy who lives and dies with every shot. My knowledge of the X’s and O’s of the sport is tenuous at best. My predictions often prove folly. I once fell hard for Ray Willis. But I do love my Sooners hoopsters, often too much. Feel free to critique but, please, be gentle.

The Coasters had a hit (later hilariously re-done by Ray Stevens) called "Along Came Jones". In the song, the narrator is perplexed by the fact that is TV is filled by "the same ol' shoot-em-up and the same ol' rodeo". Salty Sam's terrorizing poor, sweet Sue all over the American West until the hero, slow-walking, smooth talking Jones, comes along and saves the day.

Fans of OU Basketball could be forgiven for feeling that Salty Sam has terrorized us for the last seven years. Those willing to put their hearts on the line have surely noticed that the same script appears to be on a death loop to be played out in a slow-drip demise time and time again. Sawed in half, blown to bits, run over by a train: what makes anybody thing there's an end in sight? After all, we're 9th out of a 10-team Big 12 in conference wins since the FF run of 2016. Then again, it's hard to make hay when one goes 15-48 on the road over those seven aforementioned seasons. Most troubling of all: every team in the league has finished either tied or ahead of us in the standings more than half of the time:

7/7: KU, Baylor, Tech
6/7: Texas
5/7: WVU, OkState, TCU
4/7: KState, Iowa State

I hashed out that crap and a ton of other binge-inducing stats last year. Jones isn't showing up. Not Tyrone Jones. Not Big-Time Jones either (probably snoozing away in some remote portion of the terminal at LAX).

But this year......THIS YEAR feels different. Two kids limits my time with the Sooners, but it took five minutes inside the LNC against RGV before I leaned over and asked my uncle, "Uhh....What the hell happened?" Thrilled as I am with the improvement, the cynic in me feels like we've been here before. Twice since the FF we've cracked the top ten only to limp home bloody and beaten. But I see things with this team that brings that cynic a few moments of pause.....both good and bad.

We have an 8-man rotation that is filled top-to-bottom with basketball players. We're not teaching the game on the fly to a post from Parts Unknown. We're not depending on contributions from charity cases. We're not hiding anybody. We have eight guys who know how to PLAY BASKETBALL! The shots may fall, they may not....but these eight guys understand what we're trying to do in pursuit of returning OU Basketball to its rightful perch. That said....

Off a cliff we go after those eight. If we need one meaningful minute from anybody outside of that top eight we are sunk. Nothing good can come from anybody playing outside of our eight unless we're up by 25 or down by 25. But what do we do in Lawrence when Sam Godwin gets called for fouls the first two times he attacks the offensive glass? Do we go small? Can we zone in a pinch if we're trying to get to the half with some wings nursing two fouls? What about Soares? Is he good to go after friendly fire with Hugley last week? You can win a lot of games with eight guys, but seven will sure tighten that collar.

I may be alone in this thought, but I feel like Javian McCollum is a closer. And now that every game will most likely be nip and tuck, we need to be funneling the ball and, therefore, the shots toward McCollum. If roses are red and so is the state, Comrade, then the team needs to realize that a guy who can get to the rim and shoot his free shots at a 90% clip is the one who should be doing the lion's share of the work in the final minutes. It's for the good of the season.

Where will they come from? Our last two opponents were wise to our penchant for running and basically passed on the offensive glass. Not much chance for a good outlet pass when 4.5 out of 5 has already trudged back down the court. How will we score? Oweh's not going to shoot 60% from deep all season. Is it as simple as assuming Uzan will shoot better? How do we get to the line? Surely I can't be the only one who's noticed stagnation seeping into our offensive flow the last few weeks.

We've obviously made a quantum leap athletically, but it'll take a similar jump to escape the gravitational hold pulling this program back to earth. Where are the road wins you salt away for that tidy 10-8 or 11-7? When holding serve at home, which teams succumb to the pressure of a building that's 2/3 full (maybe)? I think the schedule is gettable. Now that doesn't mean we're going to win in Lawrence, but it means we're provided with road apples to snag: Fort Worth, Cincinnati, etc. Grab one early and maybe we can get this thing going.

I have been so, so down on OU Basketball. 12-1 to start this season is fantastic. Are some of our bigger wins possibly fool's gold? Maybe. Are we already leaking oil? Perhaps. But it's nice to feel the tingle of excitement as conference play begins as opposed to a harbinger of doom. I hope it sticks. And I hope we kick the **** out of Iowa State tomorrow afternoon.


Thank you for your time.
Hopefully we have 8k+ for today's game. Grew up on Billy ball, the LNC crowd can make a difference. I think this is a top 25 team with flaws, but a welcomed improvement over the past few years. Need Los to take a bigger role and Tre to find his shot. The test starts today, hope y'all are considering coming if you can!
I have very high standards for the program. But finishing at .500 or better seems almost too good to be true after the final Kruger years and first two Moser. But man I hope this team is the team that can get us back on track. This program deserves it. This team, even with flaws, just seems to play so much better and with so much more of an athletic flow than his first two, and even the final Kruger ones. We've been here before with Kruger and Moser....having a very good and satisfying non con only to implode in conference. I miss having a team get better from Dec to Feb. I think a .500 conference record would be an improvement, but i'm hoping for more. Last two years we were in alot of conference games and lost at the end, let's hope this team develops some semblance of a clutch gene. CMON FELLAS!
We need to keep this hot streak going for the simple fact of 04 posting more.
I always enjoy your commentary