- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger was pleased with his team’s effort during his first season, despite the Sooners' 15-16 record.
But Kruger has consistently said his team needs to have a better understanding of how hard they must compete to be successful.
“We can do a better job of that as a staff,” Kruger said of promoting competitiveness. “There’s a fine line there, you want to promote confidence, you want to promote 'Keep working at it,' but we have to demand more physical play.”
“Steven can be more physical,” he said. “For all he did scoring-wise, he has to do a lot more rebounding-wise, defensively. He’s got a big body, use it more.”
With three-straight losing seasons, Kruger is fighting to keep negativity -- and a losing mindset -- out of the program.
“They have to raise the expectations they have for themselves,” Kruger said. “There’s no one in our program that knows the standard of winning Big 12 games, they’ve never done it. Ww have to keep working to establish that, establish expectations. We have to expect more.”
Oklahoma's struggles in close games is one of the defining aspects of this year’s squad.
“If you look at every game, there were stretches in every game were we played well enough,” Kruger said. “But there were too many stretches when we didn’t play well. We have to treat each possession with more importance.”
17hMax Olson and Jake Trotter