Lon Kruger: Set for the Challenge with his Oklahoma Sooners in 2012-13
The 60-year old Lon Kruger is looking forward to the start of the Oklahoma Sooners 2012 – 2013 season. Despite having his run of five straight seasons with 20+ wins, Kruger and his staff are upbeat on what the season could bring. The Sooners have three seniors, but six juniors on their 2012 – 2013 roster.
Oklahoma returns four of their top five scorers from a season ago. Their top scorer last season, Steven Pledger, looks to put his name among the top players within the Big 12 this season. Pledger scored 16.2 points per game, playing nearly 31 minutes per game. The senior guard has played in 92 career games, and comes into the season with over 1,000 points scored in his career.
The next on the returning scorers list for the Sooners is Romero Osby. Osby is a 6’8” junior out of Mississippi. A season ago, Osby scored just shy of 13 points per game, and also grabbed 7.3 rebounds per game. Last season was the first year for Osby in a Sooners uniform, as he spent his first two seasons at Mississippi State.
Andrew Fitzgerald also returns for Coach Kruger. Fitzgerald is a 6’8” junior from Baltimore, Maryland. The senior forward played in 31 games and scored 12 points per game and also grabbed 5 rebounds per game. Fitzgerald worked hard on his strength and conditioning during the off-season and is poised for a huge senior campaign.
The last of the top four returning scorers is Cameron Clark. Clark is a guard that is entering his third season for the Sooners. Clark scored 8.5 points per game, and dished out nearly two assists per game from the guard position. Clark had his season high on December 2, scoring 18 points against Sacramento State.
Kruger is entering his 27th season as a head basketball coach. In 26 seasons, Kruger has won 494 games. When he wins his 500th game of his career, he will have done so with just over 300 losses.
Kruger started his coaching career at University of Texas Pan-America. In four seasons, Kruger won 52 games, before moving on to his alma mater of Kansas State. Kruger then spent four seasons at KansasState and recorded an 81-46 record; making the NCAA tournament all four seasons. The Wildcats reached the Elite 8 in one of those season.
Kruger then left Manhattan for Gainesville, where he was the head coach at Florida for six seasons. Kruger then spent four seasons at the University of llinois finishing after the 1999 – 2000 season. After taking a few years off from the college game, Kruger then got back in the business at the start of the 2004-2005 season, where he went to UNLV and won 161 games.
Last season, the Sooners won just 15 games, including five inside Big 12 play. Oklahoma beat Texas A&M in their regular season finale, but then turned around and were downed by the Aggies in the Big 12 tournament.
Oklahoma begins their 2012 – 2013 season on November 16 against UT-Arlington. The Sooners then head to Orlando and play in the Old Spice Classic. Oklahoma’s Big 12 opener is January 5, 2013 against the Mountaineers of West Virginia.