Name: Andrew Fitzgerald
Weight: 243 lb.
Expected Role: Starter
The following is one of many Sooner player previews to come. Over the course of the next week leading up to the season, Chandler Vessels will be previewing the Oklahoma Sooners roster, schedule and overall outlook for the 2011-2012 season! Stay tuned for more on the Sooner hoops season preview!
The leading returning scorer and rebounder (12.6 PPG 5 RPG), it is no doubt Andrew Fitzgerald will be an impact player for this Sooner hoops squad, perhaps even the star. The progression made from his freshman to sophomore year was nothing short of impressive (4.8 PPG to 12.6), but with Cade Davis now gone, “Fitz” will look to kick it up another notch from an already solid sophomore campaign in which he was named Honorable Mention All-Big 12.
This season though, Fitzgerald will look not only to be a leader on the statsheet, but in the locker room as well. Using the past two seasons experiences with this team both the bad, and on rare occasions good, alike, he is equipped to emerge as one of the emotional leaders on this team.
Last season he was able to become a major force in the post, due to his knack for scoring with his back to the basket and quality mid-range jumper he is able to score in a variety of ways. He looks to do much of the same this season, helping the Sooners offensively in the post.
One weak spot for the Sooners last year was rebounding. This seemed to be a theme for a very undersized squad, and Fitzgerald was not immune, averaging just five boards per contest.
This season however, with the addition of Mississippi State transfer Romero Osby down low, a lot of pressure will be taken of Fitzgerald. With Osby banging in the low post and crashing the boards, it should open up a lot more room for his post game, compared to last when he was the only reliable option at the 4/5 position. Expect his offensive game and rebounding to improve substantially this season.
He will also look to be more of a factor on the defensive end of the floor, being able to guard more fours with Osby likely to guard fives, if the Sooners implement a man-to-man defense. An improvement here would be huge for OU, as Fitzgerald was already a solid defender last season as well (1 SPG).
Overall, anticipate the junior to get the majority of the minutes at the four spot in OU’s frontcourt, contributing on both sides of the floor.
Projected Stats: 15 PPG, 5 RPG, 1 SPG, 1 BPG, 50% FG
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