Oklahoma Basketball: Blake Griffin Is Wrong, Jeff Capel Did Need to Be Fired

David BarbourContributor IIIApril 11, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 10:  Head coach Jeff Capel of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts on the sidelines during their quarterfinal game against the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 10, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Blake Griffin can complain about and defend Oklahoma's decision to fire former basketball head coach Jeff Capel all he wants, but that will not change the truth of the situation. Capel's firing was completely warranted for the simple fact that he failed at the most basic aspect of coaching college sports; Capel failed to reload his roster and sustain success.

The best coaches and those who have the most job security are those who are able to replace star players with more star players and maintain a constant level of elite play from their teams across multiple seasons. Those who are fired after a couple of seasons are the ones who are unable to do so.

Capel falls into the latter category because he was never able to duplicate the success he had when Blake Griffin was on the court for him. In the 68 games during which Griffin played for Oklahoma, the Sooners outscored their opponents by 12.0 points per 100 possessions.

In the subsequent 63 games the Oklahoma Sooners have played, they have been outscored by 2.9 points per 100 possessions, so his teams have been 14.9 points per 100 possessions worse since Griffin left for the NBA.

The differences between the offensive ratings (from 110.9 points per 100 possessions to 105.3 points per 100 possessions) and defensive ratings (98.9 points per 100 possessions to 108.2 points per 100 possessions) from the Blake Griffin era to the post-Blake Griffin era were both statistically significant ones.

Unfortunately for the Sooners, they forgot both how to score and defend in a proficient manner over the past two seasons.

Even without the decline the Sooners experienced after Griffin left Oklahoma, Capel deserved to be fired because his teams were not even equaling his first year in Norman, Oklahoma. Capel's first-year record of 16-15 was pretty misleading because despite having a record just a little bit above .500, the Sooners still outscored their opponents by 13.8 points per 100 possessions thanks to some really impressive blowout wins. They did not come close to that over the past two seasons.

Although Capel's struggles after Griffin left is the most readily apparent line of demarcation in his coaching tenure at Oklahoma, his last two teams have left a lot to be desired compared to his first Oklahoma team. 

No matter what kind of coach Griffin believes Capel is, there is no denying he has been mediocre at assembling a successful basketball program over the past two seasons and deserved to be fired.


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