Dean's List: Jackson Arnold, College Hoops & Could KD Return To OKC?

News 9 Sports Director Dean Blevins tackles multiple topics in the world of Oklahoma sports, a veritable buffet of topics -- in this edition of the Dean's List.

Wednesday, December 6th 2023, 3:28 pm


Scattershooting while remembering the great Dallas writer Blackie Sherrod …

It’s the Super Bowl for surging Arizona. The Sooners are disappointed by the New Year’s 6 Bowl Game snub, and with opt-outs and portal losses their Alamo foe won’t have to overcome. Akin to coming in second for the signature of a wunderkind recruit, OU was one spot short of a NY6 invite.

I'm eager to see what whiz-kid freshman QB Jackson Arnold and new offensive coordinator and play-caller Seth Littrell come up with for the Alamo Bowl. Though not written in stone, it’s sounding like Jim Thorpe Award snub Billy Bowman could play December 28, but iffy on turning pro early.

The insanity of the current NIL system seems to have led Dillon Gabriel to forego NFL money for the more profitable riches of a transfer portal – maybe a move to a place like Oregon, where a noteworthy coach told me billionaire-good-guy and Nike founder Phil Knight initially committed $100 million for the Ducks to buy defensive tackles and ballyhooed backs. Oh, by the way, we told you before Oregon hired him that then-Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning would be a grand-slam head coach hire. 

To the surprise of none, Michael Ray Gundy says his Texas bowl-bound Pokes will trot out December 27 without the big opt-out and portal transfer losses of others – definitely including his Aggie opponent in Texas A&M. The former man with a mullet who now sports a new and shorter coiffed look doesn’t win two of every three bowl games by not herding the cats well for postseason. Does the coach who is seeing son Gunnar enter the portal need a few more championships to be Hall-of-Fame bound? Might depend which ‘Hall,’ but even if with but one conference trophy, the plain-spoken competitor par-excellence has delivered so much pride to Payne County enthusiasts, it’d take a difficult snub. 

Former Sooner Austin Reaves is a better pro player than college player. LeBron loves him. Not a bad thing for the Arkie Native. Don’t know enough about Josh Giddey’s legal status to comment, but can say that if his world becomes a distraction for OKC’s uniquely remarkable chemistry, you’ve got a problem. ESPN Power Ranks have 'Big Blue' fourth in the Association. Sam Presti and others just keep stacking good decisions on top of each other. The only thing that could slow down the Thunder’s continual rise is a significant injury to Chet Holmgren.

I never dreamed to ever believe that a Kevin Durant return to OKC was remotely possible. Now I give it a one-in-five chance. Why not on an unforeseen KD return at some point? 

Porter Moser can coach. It may not have seemed so the first two years for the Oklahoma’s men’s basketball coach, which shows you if you get more of ‘your kind of guys’ on the floor, your coaching skills will become more evident. The Sooners are an incredibly fun team to watch with athletic freaks coming together with an unbeaten start and a No. 19 ranking. And Moser is doing it without sufficient NIL resources to haul in $tud$ he competes against. And without enough fans to even hand out stickers with your name on it.

Speaking of good coaching, the punching bag Dallas ball coach Mike McCarthy is clearly a superb offensive play caller.

In Stilly, a dreadful start has Mike Boynton on what one would think is a proverbial hot seat with the thermostat set on 360 degrees, which is what one of the truly nice guys needs to see happen to his Cowboy cagers. The Holder hire could be the Weiberg fire, which might make sense but would see a state known for having tons of good people lose one of its best.

Until we meet again -- and thanks for the read.


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