OU basketball athletic trainer Alex Brown is in his 29th season. Brown grew up in Durham, N.C., earned bachelor’s and masters’ degrees at Appalachian State, then worked seven years at East Central before being hired at OU in 1987.
I’m a basketball guy in a football world. I grew up on Tobacco Road. Basketball, I love it. I went to Appalachian State. My freshman year, the basketball coach was Press Maravich. Russ Bergman took over for him that season. Then Bobby Cremins came to town.
It’s been a lot of fun. Every year, it’s always exciting. One of my favorite days of the year is Selection Sunday. Always enjoy that.
I started at OU in ’87-88. Unforgettable. It was a lot of fun. We had the best team in the country that year, at least we think we did. A lot of other people do, too. And this year is one of those types of year, too. I’ve been lucky enough get to go to two final Fours and a couple of other teams that got awfully close.
Billy Tubbs, always fun and exciting.Coach liked to get after it hard. Players are a reflection of their coach. That’s what I’ve always enjoyed about all four coaches I’ve worked for.
The year they put the coaching box in, might have been ’87-88 or ’88-89, I used to sit on the other end of the bench, and he always wanted me to keep an eye on the other coach, make sure they were staying in the box. Norm Stewart and I had a discussion about that once during a game.
I miss the Big Eight. But I like the Big 12, too. I like the double round robin a little better than not going to some places. Like a junior college kid might only make one trip to Iowa State and one trip to Kansas State and one trip to Kansas.
Kelvin Sampson, intensity was on the back of the shorts, and that’s what it was. He was an intense guy. But driven to succeed and his players played hard for him . That’s what I loved about that group.
Hollis (Price), Buddy (Hield), Blake (Griffin), those are my three all-time favorite players. Their will to win, driving the rest of the team. Those three guys were especially special.
Jeff Capel, he was good, too. We had a really good team that one year, and every year we were working hard.
Lon Kruger, he’s the best of all. Just a consummate gentleman. Professional. Treats everyone , I mean everyone, with great respect. Does things just so professionally. He’s a joy to work for.
Consistency. Our team’s been pretty consistent. I’m proud of the fact that those four horsemen of Oklahoma (Hield, Isaiah Cousins, Ryan Spangler, Jordan Woodard) have started 101 games together. They’re consistent kids you can count on every day. They’re going to give you the best they’ve got, and that’s what Coach Kruger does. He gives you the best he’s got, every day, all day long.
Everybody gets beat up a little bit. But they have that will. They’re consistent. You know they’re going to do what the need to do to get well. They’re young, strong motivated kids … miss a meeting, miss a bus, miss a practice or miss a class? Those guys don’t do that.