The Morning Fade – 4.20.11
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It’s ridiculous that Lunardi has the platform to put out a 2012 March Madness preview, but you know you’re going to look. (ESPN) Great quote in this story by Anthony Slater on OSU 1st basewoman, Julie Ward: “It’s me thinking I am so much better than you and knowing I’m going to get a hit.” (O’Colly) OSU rolls through Wichita State. (O’Colly) Great story here by Kyle Fredrickson on OSU pitcher, Randy McMurry (O’Colly)

33 Things I Loved About 2010-11
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This is Part 2 of this post, to read Part 1 click HERE. 17. The Mizzou and K-State games – Two outings in which OSU looked downright dominant. Coincidentally, those were the only two tournament teams OSU defeated all year. 18. The emergence of Doug Gottlieb as a top 5 college hoops media personality – I don’t know if I loved this as much as I’m intrigued by it. And the ongoing pseudo-feud between him and Dan Patrick is awesome. I hope this ends in a one-on-one game of slam ball at some point this summer. 19. Coach Pierre’s Yankee-like pinstripe suits. 20. Roger Franklin doing his Reggie Evans impersonation – I think he could play 40 minutes a game and only average like 3 points. But he’s going to get boards and he’s going to show up and play hard on defense. There’s a spot for somebody like that on this team and I’m confident Ford can find it. He also wasn’t leaving school when I wrote this. 21. The signing of LeBryan Nash – No, this doesn’t mean I’m on board and driving the bandwagon or anything. But I’d be a fool to say I wasn’t at least intrigued by the fact that Ford convinced someone who, by all viable accounts, is one of the five best high school basketball players in the United States to come to Stillwater. 22. Markel’s phenomenal rotation of Jordans.

The Morning Fade – 4.19.11
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PFB will honor the OKC bombing anniversary by posting this at 9:01 CST, the exact time of the bombing. Cowboy baseball takes on Wichita State tonight. There have been moments in my fandom, and some of you will understand this, when I would have rooted for OU over Wichita State. (okstate.com) OSU climbs into the top 15 of one notable national baseball poll. (Perfect Game) Another one has them at #16. (Baseball America) Missed this yesterday but great column here by Jenni Carlson on Blackmon’s blue collar-ness. The anti-TO if you will. (which is about to be ironic after you watch the video at the bottom of this post) (News OK)

On Recruiting
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Editor’s note As you can see I’ve created a little recruiting icon over there to the right adorned with the faces of Mr. Walsh and Mr. Nash. I’ve been in limbo for quite a while with what I should do to cover OSU recruiting, mostly because I don’t have the time to do it the way it should be done, partly because Go Pokes and Rivals already do it better, and maybe just a little because I’d rather rift on Peter Uihlein’s short game or what comparisons I see between Joseph Randle and Brian Westbrook. So I think I’ve decided to not cover recruiting in this way: PFB will not be breaking news, interviewing high school athletes, or going next level on that 3-star receiver in New Mexico who Gundy has his eye on for the Class of 2014. That’s not why this blog was built. There are plenty of others out there who can give you that info. We aren’t trying to out-Rivals Rivals. Plus we think the meat-market that is high school (and middle school!) recruiting is a pretty loathsome business to begin with. We will however give our thoughts and opinions on where we think a certain recruit fits in at Oklahoma State based on his skill set and YouTube videos. We want to focus more heavily on the OSU side of things than the recruit’s side. Want to discuss what position Jurick will play and whether or not CJ Guerrero can swipe the starting PG spot from Reger Dowell (and where Fred Gulley fits in)? That’s what we’re here for. So you can expect more recruiting stuff on PFB in the future, in fact that icon will link to a collection of all our posts on recruits, starting yesterday. Just don’t email me with a video of “the sickest seventh grade basketball player ever” and expect me to post it. Unless, of course, Travis Ford has a leg up on getting him. I kid.

Who is Philip Jurick?
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By now you’ve probably read about the 9.5 blocks/game and near triple double average Philip Jurick averaged while at Chattanooga State. You’ve probably heard about how he was an emotionally-plagued “bad kid” at Tennessee after coming out of high school but has transformed himself since transferring to Chattanooga State. You may have even scribbled down all the schools he received scholarship offers from: OU, Auburn, Ole Miss, Georgia, and West Virginia. But let’s run through a quick list of things you might not know (but could very easily if you typed a certain string of characters into www.google.com) about the 6’11 Jurick: Jurick’s father played basketball at Wisconsin, which explains the heavy emphasis on defense. He didn’t start playing basketball until high school He, Bobby Maze, Renaldo Woolridge, Daniel West, and Scotty Hopson (Tennessee’s highly successful hoops class of 2008) used to call themselves “the Fab 5.” His Juco coach calls him someone who’s “at the top tier of anybody I saw or played against in the SEC.” And it’s only because of a failed speech class (of all things) that he’s headed to Stillwater. After transferring from UT to Chattanooga State and playing there for a year he began the process of enrolling at UT – Chattanooga (a D-1 program) but realized along the way he was going to come up one class short (speech) to qualify. So he went back to Chattanooga State for another year of seasoning in the Juco ranks. Travis Ford jumped all over the opportunity and yanked him from the likes of Huggy Bear, Lon Kruger, and Mick Cronin. It’s a huge play for the short-on-depth-in-the-middle Cowboys looking for an athletic five to take the place of Moses and Pilgrim. It’s a good move too – snagging a guy who doesn’t have to have the ball in his hands to make a difference in the game. I’m not sure there’d be enough shots to go around with Nash, JPO, Markel, CJ, and Keiton running and gunning from the outside. Hopefully Jurick can get his seemingly emotional life together and become a fan favorite in GIA. The guy he’ll be trying to replace sure did. Oh, and one last thing, the newest Cowboy is on Twitter, but hasn’t tweeted since October in case you were thinking about following him.

Is Bedlam Back?
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Big thanks to PFB contributor, FreeMason10 (on Twitter as @mattamilian) for his live look at the resuscitation of Bedlam from this weekend and further evaluation of the Thunder’s impact on college athletics. As I stretched my legs out over the seat in front of me in the top of the 8th inning on Sunday, I quickly realized how ridiculous it was for me to be able to do that at the rubber match of Top 20 Bedlam teams. A fellow Cowboy fan informed me the total series attendance was 24,000+, which seemed below average to me. The game itself had traditional Bedlam written all over it, however instead of a packed house, there was 5,000+ and the trash talk usually present in the crowd was replaced with a significant number of blue t-shirts. It turns out the Thunder’s influence on college sports in Oklahoma doesn’t stop with hoops. Bedlam baseball is reputable, but right now the Thunder is the show in Oklahoma City. Not convinced the NBA playoffs had any effect on yesterday’s Bedlam game? The 8th and 9th innings exemplified what I have always loved about this rivalry. Clutch hitting has always had its place in this series. No lead is safe at any point. What more could we ask for than 10 combined runs in the 8th and 9th innings to send it to extras? Well this game extended over 4 hours and fans grew impatient. A quarter of the crowd left their seats before the start of the 10th and only 10% of those fans returned. Bedlam was asking for too much by creeping past the 8:00 hour, nearing the Thunder’s 8:30 tipoff. Confession…I set my mind on leaving after the 10th regardless of the status of the game. Apparently Sam Presti and Co. have swept me off my feet as well.

The Morning Fade – 4.18.11
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Great article that kind of got buried last Friday about some late night class time between Todd Monken and Brandon Weeden. (Sports Illustrated) Great Bedlam series recap by Anthony Slater. There’s a quote in here from Davis Duren about how OSU might lead the country in walkoff hits, I think he might be right. It feels like they’ve had one every week for the last two months. (O’Colly) I’m not real sure how to feel about Cezar CJ Guerrero yet. (News OK) Also, here’s a video of him getting choked up during his speech on signing day. If you watch it will you let me know whether or not you think that’s a Steve Young mural on wall behind him? (Los Angeles Wave) Great story by James Poling (and terrific slideshow by Adam Kemp) on the spring game from Saturday. Spring games are…worthless for the most part, but let’s be honest, Justin Gilbert could run back 97-yard kicks on the intramural fields with nobody out there and I’d be interested. (O’Colly) How about the quote of the year so far from Todd Monken: The reality is you (play) this game to win the Big 12. The goal is to win the Big 12 and beat those jokers down south; that’s it.

NBA Playoff Preview (OSU Edition) – East
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I wrote on my Western Conference thoughts yesterday (which you can read about here) so today we’ll take a look at all the ties OSU has to the Eastern Conference side of things (not many) and a few predictions. #1 Bulls vs. #8 Pacers OSU ties: John Lucas III is on a playoff roster! Let’s just ignore the fact that he’s averaging 1.0 PPG (in two games) as the 5th string PG behind Derrick Rose, Jannero Pargo, CJ Watson, and Rose’s second wind. According to ESPN he and Pargo were picked up for Rose insurance. Also, TJ Ford once got into a quasi-fight in Gallagher-Iba and Brandon Rush owned Marcus Dove for three straight years. My thoughts: I do have the slight advantage of already having seen Game 1 in which Derrick Rose was two parts Magic, three parts AI, and all parts awesome (though it doesn’t sway my pick much). He’s pretty surreal right now. At this point if we don’t get a Bulls Heat and Lakers Thunder Conference Finals I’m going to be devastated. Bulls in 5. #2 Heat vs. #7 Sixers OSU ties: Mario Chalmers and Dexter Pittman both had many many wins against us. Also Craig Brackins (who I thought at one point when he was at Iowa St. was going to be the next KG) gets PT for the Sixers. My thoughts: This really should be a quick series. I’m mostly only worried about Wade getting enough time to post some solid numbers. We drafted five-man fantasy playoff teams and he’s my two-guard. You get total points your guys score and Finals points count 2x so I’m the biggest by proxy Bulls/Heat fan ever since I have Rose, Wade, Melo, Dirk, and Noah. Yeah, that Noah. Heat in 5.

NBA Playoff Preview (OSU Edition) – West
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I got into an interesting debate with Q the other day on the podcast about who OSU’s most famous current professional athlete is. I’m still not sure if I have an answer (that might be a power poll in the coming weeks?) but Tony Allen has to be in the conversation, doesn’t he? As such I decided to take some time and use he and James Anderson as an (admittedly lame) excuse to preview the NBA Playoffs. Here we go: Western Conference #1 Spurs vs. #8 Grizzlies OSU ties: Tony Allen will be tasked with the burden of trying to guard Duncan, Manu, and TP at the same time while helping fill the scoring void left by Rudy Gay and his injury. I’d also like to take this time to mention that, since 2004 Tony Allen is 0-1 in postseason basketball games in the city of San Antonio. James Anderson hasn’t really been what we thought he would be (or wanted him to be) since arriving in Duncan-ville. He’s only averaged 3.6 points/game this year and missed over 50 games with an injury. Here’s to hoping Popp and Co. don’t lose sight of one of the most talented, inspiring players to walk through GIA in the last twenty-five years. My thoughts: It could get chippy (when you have Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, how could it not?) but it won’t get all that tight. If Gay was playing I think I might actually pick the Grizz. But no Gay means no go-to guy in crunch time, and San Antonio has about four of those. Spurs in 6. #2 Lakers vs. #7 Hornets OSU ties: Um, Aaron Gray and Jarrett Jack were both part of NCAA tournament teams that ended OSU’s season? My thoughts: I wish Chris Paul was 2007 Chris Paul instead of current “I’m not sure if I’m going to Kye Staley my knee on any given play” Chris Paul. Either way the Lakers don’t have anyone who can guard him, but 2007 Paul had an outside shot of single-handedly winning this series. This year’s version? No chance. Lake Show in 5.

SMC – Tony Allen Hammer
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Thanks to all our readers and Twitter followers, you guys (and gals) truly make this endeavor more than I possibly thought it could be. In honor of the NBA playoffs kicking off tonight I thought I should include a little bit of our new-fangled cult hero taking the Western Conference by storm, Mr. Trick or Treat himself. I mean he’s basically turned into a poor man’s version of Ron Artest, right? Great defense, gives-every-fan-a-heart-attack offense, a little John Rocker in him to the point that not much short of him stealing the Spurs’ t-shirt cannon and blasting it in Manu Ginobli’s face would surprise you. And even then you could probably say, “yeah, kinda saw that one coming on some level.” I love all of it. I’m thrilled he went to O-State. I love that he punched out OJ Mayo over a game of cards and that he’s one of like 2.5 guys in the league who can stick KD. Enjoy the massive dunk on Antawn Jamison. By the way, if you haven’t ordered your Tony Allen All Grit and Grind t-shirt you can do so here.

The Morning Fade – 4.15.11
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Big weekend in Stillwater with the spring game and Remember the 10 run. Wish I could be up there but I’m still recovering from Augusta, all Twitter and email reports from the game are appreciated. Loving this column from Kyle Fredrickson on Justin Blackmon. It’s so tough to take what I imagine was a very normal practice/media session and yank tidbits out of it like he does to wrap a column around. Well done. And if you can’t view because of the O’Colly paywall just email me and I’ll get it to you, it’s worth reading. (O’Colly) Good stuff here from Chatmon on what fans think about the move of Bedlam to December. I love all the “man I’m just glad I don’t have to balance family and football on Thanksgiving anymore, now I can just focus on football!!” sentiment. Hilarious. (News OK)

Thursday Night Games
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Berry Tramel wrote a piece yesterday in The Oklahoman about how he hopes OSU doesn’t move its game with Arizona to Thursday night. I agree with his idea (that it’s a poor decision to deprive the general Stillwater community of the money that’s brought in on Saturday home game days and force fans to travel hundreds of miles on a work night) but can’t get on board with the premise: that decisions by the athletic department are, or should be, driven by anything other than what’s best for the Oklahoma State athletic program. The first question has to be, “is it a competitive advantage to move the Arizona game from Saturday to Thursday?” I think it is. One big problem for home teams playing in Thursday night games is all the hype surrounding the game. This one would especially be wrought with emotion as it would easily be the biggest non-conference game for OSU all year.

The Morning Fade – 4.14.11
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Oklahoma State has three golfers in the Ben Hogan award race, and one of them has only played in six tournaments. (Golf Digest) Can someone please give me a real answer on why this is like the biggest secret ever kept in college athletics? (ESPN) Want to feel your blood boil in the general direction of the NCAA? (Clarion Ledger) How do we feel about Arizona State’s new gear? I’ve talked to people who love it and people who hate it. I hope we’re all prepared for whatever Nike drops on us in the next few months because it could be just as controversial. (Dr. Saturday)

The Morning Fade – 4.13.11
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Win Bedlam baseball tickets for this weekend. (Facebook) Fascinating piece on Darrent Williams and everything that happened leading up to his death. (Sports Illustrated) Some interesting questions about the 2011 schedule answered by Chatmon. I have pretty mixed feelings on the Thursday night game but my feelings on the Friday night game are not mixed, that’s a horrendous move. We don’t need to be playing tier-5 schools on a Friday night in November. (News OK) Weeden was named OSU’s student-athlete of the year, and is wearing an awesome shirt in this picture. (okstate.com)