Porter Moser’s First Big 12 Media Day Presser

First year OU basketball coach Porter Moser held his first Big 12 Media Day presser earlier this week. As always the Big 12 will be uber tough with Kansas at No. 3, Texas with Chris Beard at No. 5, and defending national champion Baylor coming in at No. 8 in the pre-season poll.

OU lost leading scorer Austin Reaves to the LA Lakers, lost second leading scorer Devion Harmon in the transfer portal to Oregon, and lost Brady Manek to the North Carlina Tar Heels in the transfer portal. That’s the top three scorers from last season’s team which lost to Gonzaga in the second round. Losing Devion was clearly a loss while in the case of Brady Manek… I think he needed a change of scenery following last season. I’m happy for both of them.

Two other Sooners left via the transfer portal as well with Kur Kuath heading to Marquette and Alondis Williams leaving for Wake Forest. I’ll miss these two guys as well…especially Kur since he’s from South Sudan and now that I’ve read ‘Sooley’ I’d be thinking of the book every time he took the court. I loved Kur’s work ethic and joy for the game. He improved quite a bit duing his stay at OU. He turned himself into a solid rotational player.

But on the positive side of the portal the Sooners added Jordan Goldwire from Duke and Tanner Grove from Eastern Washington to help give the roster some immediate veteran help on both ends of the court. Plus a nice guard in Marvin Johnson from Eastern Illinois and a nice forward in Ethan Chargois from SMU joined the Sooners in the portal as well as the younger Grove brother a small forward from Eastern Washington.

The Sooners return their best all around two way guard in my estimation in EJ Harkless, their smartest and most versatile player in Jalen Hill, and three point bomber Moj Gibson.

Defensively..I think the team will morph into a high energy group which is the trademark for Coach Moser’s teams. Transition defense will help the Sooners find their offensive identity. Offensively.. I would think probable leading scorer Tanner Grove and the rest of the team will have to evolve as a team offensively finding their way as they go since they’ve never played together as a group.

Defense comes first, then the offense evolves around what these guys are capable of doing night in and night out.

Defensively, with Goldwire and EJ Harkless…the Sooners could have one of the best defensive backcourts in the league. Which means OU could have one of the best defensive backcourts in the country. I can’t wait to watch the defensive transition at Lloyd Noble.

It was defensive transition on Billy Tubbs’ 1988 national runnerup team which took the team to the final game at Kemper Arena.

Mookie Blaylock, Harvey Grant, and Dave Seiger’s defense was the collective engine for that ball club. It always starts with defense if you have lofty team goals come March and April. That will never change in basketball or hockey for that matter.

Possession, transition, finish.

Obviously…it’s always a tough 18 game regular season assignment in the Big 12 as I would think O State will be a good team, plus I would expect West Virginia to be tough as well. There are no off nights in the Big 12.

I’m pleasantly surprised at the non-conference slate in that OU has Butler, UCF, Sweet 16 Arkansas, Florida, and Auburn on the schedule.

Arkansas had one of the best young teams in the country last season. That’s three SEC teams on the slate and should give OU hoops fans a look into their basketball future conference wise.

Coach Moser has already signed three new players for next season. So here we go with the Porter Moser Era for Oklahoma Sooner basketball.

I was glad to hear Coach Moser say he has such good relationships with both Mike Boynton and Chris Beard in that I have featured both on my blog and plan to feature both of them along with Coach Moser on my blog this basketball season.

Lon Kruger will be missed in that he was one of the classiest basketball coaches I’ve ever observed, but I hope he’s enjoying his retirement playing golf, being a grandfather, and watching his son coach UNLV.

This is perfect for me in that OU is starting a new era while the Thunder are trying to figure out their future in this market.

Thunder Open Season in Utah With a Loss

The Thunder lost like they were supposed to in Utah on Wednesday night. The alleged four best players on the team…. Shai, Lu Dort, Josh Giddy, and I guess Darius Bazely all had a tough night.

The Thunder not only lost, but they lost by 21 points which covered the Vegas spread of the Jazz winning by 13.5 at home against one of the worst teams in the league.

The other gem in Sam Presti’s master plan… the skinny kid named Poku didn’t even score a point as he looked terrified to attempt a shot.

Coach D with his ears probably still stinging from the ass chewing he got from Sam Presti for winning those two late season games against Boston and the LA Clippers was in mid-season tanking form as he kept two of his better three point shooters, Mike Muscala and Ty Jerome, on the bench.

Granted…Utah is picked by some to win the West and their rim is protected by Rudy Gobert, it was still a stellar clinic on how to tank on Day 1.

I could only watch bits and pieces of the game. It was pathetic. But again…Utah is a good regular season team and the Thunder by plan have been built to be terrible.

I wonder if Sam Anderson’s book Boom Town needs a counter balance of sorts with a story of how the ‘It Team in America’ for a decade has turned itself into a franchise taking this route to attempt to stay relevant.

I was also wondering what Shai Gilgeous Alexander’s agent was thinking to himself as he tried to watch more than five minutes of this game.

I wonder if there were any questions in the post game presser from any of the OKC media as to why Mike Muscala and Ty Jerome didn’t get into the game to shoot threes with Rudy Gobert packing the lane as he always does.

This is what I mean by these games not being legitimate competition. They’re staged events design for the Thunder to lose.

I thought the three rookies… Josh Giddy, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and Tre Mann and my favorite vet Kenrich Williams were the four best players on the floor for the Thunder. They actually looked like they belonged in an NBA game.

Glass half-full take there’s only 81 games left in the season.

On a more positive note…a friend gave me a copy of John Grisham’s basketball novel ‘Sooley’ this past week and I finished it yesterday morning.

This was the first basketball novel I’ve ever read and I loved it. It made me laugh and it made me cry. The ending caught me off guard and has left me still thinking of the main character Sooley and his legacy to readers.

John Grisham usually writes legal thriller novels, but this is the fourth sports novel he’s written.

He’s written two football novels ‘Playing for Pizza’ and ‘Bleachers’. Plus one baseball novel titled ‘Calico Joe’.

If you need to take a break from the tanking…I’d highly recommend ‘Sooley’. Although the character Sooley is from South Sudan..I couldn’t help but keep thinking of Serge Ibaka and that infectious smile of his as I read the book.

As time has passed from the Thunder’s better days… Nick, Serge, and Steven have cemented themselves with me as my three favorite players.

Hang in there with the tank and do some leisure reading during the Thunder games this season. You won’t be missing much by taking your eyes off the court. Maybe it will even put all of this into some sort of cosmic karma balance.

My NBA Journal

TNT got the NBA season going last night and it was an impressive doubleheader with two games of interest.

In the first game the defending champ Milwaukee Bucks easily took care of the Brooklyn Nets. Again you can build a championship team without tanking if your GM has a vision of how to build a team.

Milwaukee did it. The champion before them, the Tornoro Raptors did it when they took a chance on Kawhi and won a ‘ship in a narrow window. The Golden State Warriors did it three times in five Final appearances without tanking. Granted…they took Sam Presti’s lunch money on July 4th, 2016, but they didn’t tank. Instead, they used a loophole of sorts with the salary cap to fit in Kevin Durant on their team.

So it’s very hard for me to sit out here in Deer Creek, Oklahoma and have a ton of patience with Sam Presti given what he has in his war chest to build a competitive NBA team.

Every team in every sport goes thru the cycles of up and down…but it’s how you navigate those cycles which determines the fate of those franchises.

It’s how you navigate the cycles which give your franchise a window here and there.

Oklahoma City basically had a decade window previously for one reason…the reason’s name is Kevin Durant.

Utah and Indiana are both small NBA markets…who made it to an NBA Finals. Portland with the Bill Walton team won an NBA championship. There is precedent that Oklahoma City can right the ship and start to be somewhat relevant next season. Kind of like the current Memphis Grizzles with Ja Morant.

From Presti’s standpoint I would think he would want to start solidifying his team building nucleous this season with these five young guys as his template core moving forward–those being Shai, Giddy, Poku, Bazely, and Dort. Four first round picks and the overacheiving Lu Dort. You need some blue collar guys who are willing to get bloody here and there. Metrics will never change that fact. Ask Nick Collison if you doubt me.

The next sequential core I see are Maledon, Roby, and Jerome. One first round pick and two second round picks. I see the Thunder’s guard group as fairly interesting given what the Thunder are going to expect from Shai and Giddy moving into the future. The team is almost guard heavy if that’s possible. The Thunder need some rim protection and physicality is my take.

The next sequential core are the three vets… Mike Muscala, Kenrich Williams, and Derrick Favors. You need smart seasoned vets to contend for relevancy at some point. You would think Presti has enough in his war chest to make a couple of Thabo or Perk-like trades at some point to start bringing all this youth together as a coherent team with a goal besides losing games intentionally.

Then there’s the other three rookies…DRE, Tre Mann, and Aaron Wiggins. An agile offensive big from Jay Wright and Villanova, a scoring guard from Florida, and the Sixth Man of the Year from the Big 10 Maryland Terps. Interesting selections from a team building standpoint. Wiggins’ intrigues me somewhat. I’m totally okay with what Presti did with his second round picks.

Vegas has the Thunder at around 24-25 wins this season. So call it tanking or whatever you like. Patience. The future. Whatever.

Here’s what I know–I’ll watch the Thunder some, but if I start seeing SGA being sat like he was last season–then my interest will drain pretty quick. The Thunder were actually 16-19 in games in which Shai played last season. They were 6-31 without Shai in the lineup… so we’ll see how this is handled as far as providing a legitimate NBA game experience in Oklahoma City this basketball season.

I would think at some point…Shai and his agent would tire of him playing on a team which isn’t relevant while other young guards in the Western Conference are getting the air time for their brand and their standing in the league.

Remember…the agent gets 10% on all endorsments last time I checked.

Guys like Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell, Jamal Murray, Ja Morant, and even the Sacramento guards possibly are all ascending in stature while in essence Shai plays on a team which is going to lose games in bunches on purpose for a second straight season.

I wouldn’t vote for Shai to be an NBA All-Star until he proves to me he can be the guy on a team which is at the least relevant enough to at least be contending for a bottom rung playoff spot. I’m not sure I’d buy a sports drink from a guy who loses fifty games a year either…let alone consider his tennis shoe. Truth hurts.

I think he’s a good player, but c’mon at some point he needs to show this dynamic in his game heading towards the playoffs.

On my next NBA Journal entry I’m going to do my entire Top 25 Player Pyramid to show where I have Shai in relation to the other young stars in the league.

My Top Five currently goes… 1 Giannis, 2 Lebron, 3 Kevin Durant, 4 Steph, and 5 Luka.

Hopefully…Sam Presti will give Oklahoma City fans something at least entertaining to watch this NBA season.

Glass half full take–take a deep breath the world isn’t coming to an end. One of America’s two best college basketball conferences is in our own backyard. Learn the college game and embrace the fact you have that option when for the second straight year Sam Presti’s prism for sustainability means losing games by design.

In closing, Pop and the Spurs won their last NBA title in 2014 with this former San Diego State player being the Spurs MVP Finals when they beat LeBron and the Heat in five games. I’ll give you three clues….It wasn’t Timmy, Tony Parker, or Manu.

It was the 15th player taken in his draft class…a guy by the name of Kawhi Leonard. Go figure.

Sam Presti, dude…you need some guys in your basketball orbit with a little less passivity and more aggressive optimism. Surely you tire of the rainbows and buttterflies you get from the writers in this market 24/7. Surely you find that less than stimulating.

Caleb Williams Up Close

At this point it seems pretty clear this is Caleb Williams’ team barring injury or concusssion protocol or a COVID issue.

It’s hard not to fall in love with this kid. You can understand why his teammates love playing with him.

A very articulate kid with a very firm belief in himself which translates into the team playing better. Maybe he should start getting in some of the defensive huddles just to see if that would transpose itself into better play on that side of the ball.

But I’m not going to be snarky with the defense. I think they’ll look better when they get Turner-Yell, Woodi Washington, Jeremiah Criddell, and Isiah Poe back into the rotations. The next three weeks with Kansas, Texas Tech, and the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time.

Which brings me to this thought…what if both the Kansas and Texas Tech games become blowouts by halftime?

What does Spencer Rattler want to do? I mean…does he want to go out there and compete at full bore or does he want to go out there and have to play with a watered down play list to ground down the clock?

I think it will be interesting to observe. This dynamic in particular. Or does Lincoln Riley go with the walk-on to get him some snaps just in case. If you’re the backup you need snaps. You need to stay sharp.

We should be to the point now where the OU Daily doesn’t feel the need to spy on any more OU football practices.

I hope the Sooner fan base can tap on the brakes just a bit as far as Spencer Rattler is concerned and show some humanity his way. This can’t be easy for him.

The booing is just so classless. Let it go and imagine that could be your son or grandson or nephew out there and wish the best for him in his journey just as you will for Caleb Williams.

But again…you never know in football when an injury could happen or a player could be concussed or come back with a positive Covid result.

We should all just take that collective step back and hope both of these guys the best paths forward to fulfilling their dreams.

It should be a good ending for both of them.

—————-

With the NBA getting started this week I’ll start posting on my NBA/Thunder Journal. This will include other teams which are trying to win…instead of just tanking. But when there’s something Thunder related which should be noted…it will be on my blog.

I mean, ostensibly that’s why I started this blog..to in essence give my objective takes so as someone who stumbles upon my blog can read something from someone who isn’t on Sam Presti’s payroll or like Berry Tramel or Jenni Carlson very much operating on the basis of what’s said off the record never gets written on the record. That’s bullshit to a certain degree.

That’s why the Thunder are so overly guarded as to their coverage in this market. They want an inherent quid pro quo attached to everything Thunder related.

I love Berry Tramel’s coverage of OU football and basketball, but my question to Berry Tramel would be…”Why don’t you hold the Thunder to the same standards you hold to Lincoln Riley, Mike Gundy, Porter Moser and Mike Boynton? Or Russell Westbrook?”

Tough, but fair all across the board should be the mantra.

I mean, in a courtroom under oath…when a question is posed in a reasonable manner… an advocate can plead with Your Honor to have the witness answer the question in a forthright manner. Right?

That seems to fair to me.

As a writer/blogger/whatever…at some juncture your inner soul has to be more than just a quid pro quo arrangement. It has to be or why else would we have newspapers and blogs in the first place.

Since Cade Cunningham is now with the Pistons…I think I’ll follow Porter Moser’s first year at the OU helm as my primary basketball beat this season.

If someone just asked me…”Mike, what beat would you like to follow this season in Oklahoma if you could pick just one?” It would be the OU basketball beat. Don’t get me wrong…I love OU football… where this team could be going, but I’ve always been an outlier of sorts in that OU hoops has always been a big thing with me. Part of it is the fans aren’t insane like with the football program. It’s not an insatiable Monster.

From Johnny Mac to Dave Bliss to Joe Ramsey to Les Lane to Billy Tubbs to Kelvin Sampson to Jeff Capel to Lon Kruger to now Porter Moser….. OU hoops have consumed part of my winters.

Basketball season is basically here with fans in the arenas.

Finally…music and fans. and hoops all altogether for the college game.

My Top 12 Poll and Two Team Helmet Stickers

This is a mixed bag on here today. I’m still numb from watching Caleb Williams’ debut as the OU starting QB. I think I’ll write about that performance tonight or tomorrow morning.

I think we all now know why Spencer Rattler played like he’d seen a ghost the first six games. Can you imagine being the Heisman favorite and you see this guy Caleb in practice and you know he’s better than you are as a true freshman?

My heart goes out to Spencer Rattler, but we all now know what Caleb can do. This isn’t a Chris Leak-Tim Tebow deal…this is more of a Trevor Lawrence-Kelly Bryant type of situation.

My two team helmet stickers this week go to the Oklahoma St. Cowboys and the Auburn Tigers for both showing some real grit on the road with wins against Texas and Arkansas respectively.

These teams would be a good matchup in a bowl game. Both teams have a quarterback situation where Spencer Sanders and Bo Nix have fought through some sketchy play at time, but their teams keep finding a way.

Kudos to O State and Auburn for their collective team resilence thru Week 7

O State at Iowa State this coming Saturday is a big, big… Big 12 game.

My Poll

1 Georgia

2 Oklahoma ( Alex Grinch needs Delarrin Turner-Yell back in a bad way in that secondary)

3 Cincy

4 Michigan

5 Alabama

6 Ohio St.

7 Penn St.

8 Oklahoma St.

9 Michigan St.

10 Iowa

11 Oregon

12 Auburn

On my bubble……

13 Notre Dame

14 Kentucky

Ki Ke Hernandez—Boston Red Sox….Let’s Go, Boys!

I played this for Caleb on Saturday and it worked. I’m playing it now for Ki Ke to see if he can hit three homers tonight at Fenway. Two extremely hot dudes who are ON FIRE. Dodgers could use Ki Ke right now. Trea Turner’s bat in a word has been abysmal. Just saying.

This song stuff won’t work for Sam Presti and the Thunder though because Sam Presti ‘made’ them to lose at least 55 games or so. No songs for the Sam Presti tank-a-fest death march. I don’t play music for non-legit sporting events.

You want that kind of rainbows and butterflies cupcake bullshit….this won’t be that place. But I will be fair and honest at the end of the day.

Two helmet stickers, two dudes, two songs…it only seems right. Stevie Miller Monday on okcthunderground.com. Just seems right.

Have a nice Monday.

Game Day — Week #7

Should Caleb Williams start today in Norman vs. TCU?

Of course he should given how he performed in the Red River Rivalry. But by the same token the OU fans shouldn’t trash Spencer Rattler in that they may need him again down the road this season. Plus, being human isn’t a bad thing.

Lest we forget the Paul Thompson to Rhett Bomar back to Paul Thompson quarterback journey back in the 2006 season.

Lincoln Riley not only owes Caleb Williams the chance to start, but he owes this to every one of his players and coaches. The fans not as much.

With Caleb in the game the opposing safties have to respect his ability to run the ball. This should give guys like Marvin Mims and others the chance to create some separation on deep patterns. If for no other reason..that reason should be why Caleb is given the start tonight.

The head coach is the guy who brings it all together and makes his team the best they can be. This decison is easy. The one Lincoln Riley made at halftime in Dallas wasn’t as easy.

Spencer Rattler was yanked with OU trailing 35-17 after the bad fumble. From that point forward—OU outscored the Horns 38-13.

Duh.

I don’t need Woodward and Bertstein from the OU Daily counting snaps for me especially since Lincoln Riley gave Spencer Rattler off on Monday.

I’m still exhausetd from last week’s game. I hope OU’s players aren’t feeling a Texas hangover because I am. That second half half took ssomething out of me.

On my picks today…I’m taking Georgia over Kentucky and and giving the points and then taking Arkansas at home versus Auburn. Talk about two teams who shoud be exhausted and on the ropes…it’s these two teaams in a great SEC battle on the beautiful campus in Fayetville. Walk that campus sometime in autumn and you’ll fall in love with the place.

As far as O State vs. Texas…I like Texas outright, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving the 5.5. This is a huge game for Mike Gundy…probably the biggest game for O State since the passing of Boone Pickens. You would think the winner of this game would be the frontrunner to make the Big 12 Championship Game along with OU.

It’s a huge game for Sark as well since Tom Herman won this game last season in Stillwater…. 41-34.

I think Iowa State at K State and BYU at Baylor are interesting Big 12 games as well. A good Saturday to watch Big 12 football.

BOOMER and GO KiKe HERNANDEZ!

LA Dodgers Advance to NLCS

The Thunder evidently played an exhibition game in Tulsa last night in which NBA players sat on the bench while a G League game was played to help both the Thunder and Nuggets makes some roster decisions.

Pre season NBA is to evaluate talent and somewhat get in game shape. I was actually more interested to see how OU’s Austin Reaves would fare in his game with the Lakers in his quest to become an NBA guard. I would guess Austin will be back and forth between the G League and the Lakers. He had a tough shooting night, but did have 7 assists in just under thirty miutes of play.

BTW…Davion Mitchell and his Kings beat the Lakers in this game. I hope for Russell’s sake he can figure it out playing with LeBron. That’s all I’m going to say.

The Dodgers prevailed 2-1 in what was a great post season game with everything a baseball fan wants attached to a post season game.

A pitching duel which featured the Giants’ Logan Webb versus the entire Dodgers staff in essence, but with Bulldog Max Scherzer of Washington Nationals fame closing out the last inning.

Two former OKC Dodgers accounted for both of the Dodgers’ two RBIs with Cory Seager driving in Mookie Betz with the first run, then with Cody Bellinger driving in Justin Turner with the game winner.

I don’t think the Dodgers messed up their pitching rotation too much last night for their upcoming series with the Atlanta Braves. But we’ll see. Goggle Boy is key in the Dodger’s rotation. I love the goggles…almost as menacing as a Tyler Herro snarl or Max’s glare from the mound.

Mookie Betz went 4-4 and Max closed the deal. That’s the thing with the Dodgers… they have a great developmental system, yet open the war chest to acquire players like Mookie, Max, and Trea Turner.

Sam Presti still searching for a shooting guard to put alongside Kevin Durant. How ironic… someone like Shai could have been the perfect hybrid guard to be the championship bridge between Durant and Westbrook in historical retrospect.

In the American League..it’s the streaking Boston Red Sox vs. the Houston Astros. I like Boston. Another former OKC Dodger from 2015…one KiKe Hernandez is tearing it up at the plate for the Bosox along with the entire team.

KiKe’s real name is Enrique…just so you know. No wonder he prefers going by KiKe.

I like Alex Cora as a manager. The previously cheating Astros can hit the ball as well, but this time around it will be without George Springer and along with Altuve…I thought it was Springer who made the Astros special in post season play more than the fact they were stealing signs.

So.. I’m hoping it’s the Dodgers versus the Red Sox in the World Series.

Lincoln Riley’s Tuesday Presser

I thought the best questions as usual came from Berry Tramel. He asked a sequence of questions in regards to why using a two quarterback system like Chris Leak and TimTebow isn’t used more by college coaches nowadays.

Lincoln didn’t absolutely nix the idea, but pretty much made it clear that isn’t the way he wants to head with his quarterback situation. He cited continuity, pace, tempo, and the feel of the game as why he doesn’t embrace a two QB system. Good questions…good answers I thought.

Tramel later asked a question in relation as to why Spencer was put in the game for the two point conversion. Lincoln without hesitation answered he and Spencer were talking throughout the second half and Spencer was completely locked in and the best option for that play.

Somebody asked a question about Kennedy Brooks’ running style and Lincoln compared it to watching someone run with their lab at the park… which I thought was funny.

Lincoln is clearly not going to publicly name his QB starter until Saturday despite how many times the editors from the OU Daily spy on their closed practices. What those knuckleheads have done is cause the beat writers from the Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, the Norman Transcript, excetera to have their access to the program put on hold the rest of the week.

Note to the OU Daily… it would be better if you spy on the opponent rather than your own team so as Joe C doesn’t have to ban his own school’s paper from having access.

Al Eschbach evidently has these guys as students in his journalism class and prasied them as if they were Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward breaking into the Watergate Hotel. That was hilarious.

I would think Lincoln would have answered the QB question simply by the fact he gave Spencer Rattler off on Monday to reset himself mentally.

Anyway…hopefully full access to the program is put back in place after the team gets through this week. You don’t want to diminish access to the program like the Thunder do and create a feel of programmed almost paranoid narratives.

Here’s what surprised me about Lincoln’s presser…no one asked questions about the defense and the fact they’ve given up 65 total points from scrimmage combined versus K State and Texas.

My questions would have been, ‘Lincoln, are you concerned about the defensive performances the past two weeks and do you feel the defense isn’t as good as touted coming into this season?

‘Lincoln, are you concerned that Texas when trailing 48-41 went right down the field to tie the game late in the fourth period? Are you concerned your secondary didn’t have an answer for Xavier Worthy?

Then I’d wink at Lincoln just to lock down our quid pro quo off the record relationship and ask…

‘Lincoln…how did you feel about Tyrese Robinson’s excellent game on the O line and the fact he got a helmet sticker from Mike Jackson over at okcthunderground.com?’

It’s always about off the record…trust me. Berry Tramel will still have access this week for the simple reason Lincoln trusts Berry Tramel…Woodward and Berstein–not so much.

Here’s the thing about Tramel which I love though..I could call him right now on the number he lists on his columns and he’d talk about all this without violating his oath as a journalist.

Anyway…TCU in Norman at 6:30pm on Saturday.

Thunder Beat Denver Nuggets to Win a Preseason Game, 108-99

After watching Alex Ovechkin score his 731st and 732nd goals in a Washington Cap win over the New York Rangers…I watched the entire second half of the Thunder’s preseason win over the Denver Nuggets.

Granted it was preseason and Jamal Murray didn’t play… it was still what I thought was a huge improvement from what I saw from the Thunder in their preseason loss to Milwaukee.

Josh Giddy on the offensive end is going to be a player. I’ll feel fairly confident writing that based on his natural offensive instincts and decision making. His comfort on the offensive end seems advanced for such a young guy. You could easily envision a three guard lineup with Giddy, Shai ,and Lu Dort in which their skill sets could work together quite nicely as their chemistry grows.

Some of the other young guys looked good as well. I like JRE’s offensive game and instincts as from I guess the power forward position. He needs to shed some of the baby fat, but his instincts offensively seem to be there to be honed for the NBA game.

Tre Mann had some moments. The Thunder need perimeter shooting from their bench. I would assume this is why Tre was drafted and yet he had a couple of nice drives at the basket.

Aaron Wiggins could be a solid player as well with an overall two way style of play which the Thunder need to evolve as a relevant team at some point in this rebuild process. I like his body…it’s NBA ready unlike the other rookies on this team.

Coming into this season I have mixed feelings in regards to Bazely and Roby… so I would prefer to watch more of them before I write anything about their games.

Same with Poku… his body looks better, but his offensive comfort in his own game doesn’t seem to be there. This isn’t the Greek B League and he looks somewhat confused at times. He should have played in the summer league. The best part of his game is his defensive reach from what I saw tonight as in deflections and blocked shots with that freak wingspan of his.

Poku and the Thunder need to decide what they want from him offensively is the way I see it in pre-season.

The same two teams end their preseasons with a game in Tulsa tomorrow night. I doubt I see much of it with the Dodger-Giant game being played, but on this night the young guys plus Shai and Lu looked somewhat promising. With a couple of heady vets added to the mix with a rim protector included in the team upgrade…they could be fun next season.

Lincoln Riley Deflects Starting Quarterback Questions at Tuesday Presser

Lincoln gave his normal presser on Tuesday following the 55-48 win over Texas. As expected…he deflected as much as he could in regards to naming a starter for this Saturday’s home game versus TCU.

I would expect Caleb Williams will be the starter, but I also think in private Lincoln has told Spencer Rattler to keep his head up and be ready if needed.

OU fans should not forget…less than two weeks ago Spencer was 22 of 25 at Manhattan and arguably the best OU player on the field that day.

Here’s two things Caleb Williams has yet to do at OU:

1 He’s never gone to bed on Friday night knowing he was going to be the starter the next day with The Monster critiquing his every move.

2 To date he’s never played meaningful minutes in a true road game.

I would start Caleb Williams on Saturday just to see if the momentum with the rest of the offense continues to trend as it did on Saturday in the second half. OU outscored Texas 35-10 in the second half and ran the ball at will with Caleb in the game. But Arkansas literally did the same thing.

But I hope the OU fanbase shows some compassion and adult wisdom as this situation continues this season.

I have confidence in Lincoln Riley in this regard. I think he’s a good person as well as a smart coach.

This is one of those crossroad moments for Spencer Rattler as a young man. I think he would be very wise to embrace the advice he’s given by Lincoln.

Virtually every human I know has had a crossroad moment or two or three in their life…including me for certain.

We grow from these moments. We become better humans.

In closing… I’ll quote Hemingway… ‘The world breaks everyone, yet many become stronger in the broken places.’

Hang in there Spencer Rattler and become a stronger person.