COUNTDOWN TO FOOTBALL

Del Olaleye: The week's events in college football

Kyler Murray will be a one and done at OU. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Kyler Murray update

Oklahoma’s Murray previously told the world that he would continue to play football for the Sooners despite being a top 10 pick in the MLB Draft. His future franchise has now chimed in and we know the particulars of Murray’s future. The Oakland A’s and Murray have to come an agreement that they will make official on Friday. Under terms of the agreement Murray will play one year of QB at Oklahoma before turning his attention to play baseball professionally full-time. Murray would have one year of eligibility remaining after the 2018 season but it appears the Sooners will have their third starting QB in three seasons when the 2019 season begins.

A recruit finesses the game

Anthony Gordon is my favorite recruit of the current cycle. Much respect. You don’t know who he is and I didn’t know who he was before this week. Hell, only some truly devoted University of Virginia fans might have known who he was until he made a statement on twitter this week. Gordon is a senior to be out of Philadelphia that took to twitter to announce his commitment to the Virginia Cavaliers. The problem? He didn’t have a scholarship offer from UVA. They hadn’t talked to him for months. He didn’t call any coach on the staff to confirm his standing with the team either.

I can see Gordon working here. He’s a lightly recruited guy with at this point one scholarship offer. If he believes he’s more talented than the attention he’s getting would imply, do something to garner that attention. Tell the world who you are. Maybe get that junior film in front of some new eyes. He’s got a full season of games to show that he is deserving of an ACC offer. I have my doubts that offer comes from Virginia though.

Mike Gundy takes to twitter after his boss questions his recruiting methods

Mike Gundy has always had this unsettled relationship with his alma mater. From the outside looking in it doesn’t make much sense. He played QB for Oklahoma State. He was promoted to head coach after Les Miles took the LSU job in 2004 and under Gundy the Cowboys have had unprecedented success. Six double-digit win seasons in Gundy’s 13 seasons at the helm and a Big 12 title in 2011. That hasn’t stopped Gundy and Oklahoma State’s biggest booster T. Boone Pickens from having issues and making them public as well. Gundy’s latest back and forth with a member of the Oklahoma State executive branch involves Athletic Director Mike Holder.

Holder after complimenting Gundy while doing a popular OSU podcast went on to question Gundy’s recruiting. He thinks Gundy and his staff settle and that puts a ceiling on what they can achieve on the field. Oklahoma State has never been a recruiting power but being the second school in the state and watching Oklahoma make two College Football Playoffs in three seasons might have people a little testy. Gundy responded the only way you can in this era. He used twitter to send a message. Whether it was quizzical emojis or pictures of the Cowboys staff in front of a private plane on a recruiting trip, Gundy let it be known that he heard what Athletic Director Holder said. Gundy hasn’t beaten Oklahoma since 2014 and the ongoing losing streak to his in-state rival has prevented the Cowboys from winning a couple of Big 12 titles. Everyone in Stillwater feels a lot better when they beat the Sooners. Coach might want to get on that.

 

 

 

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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