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August 25, 2012

Shinn at 3 p.m.: OU pauses to honor basketball greats

NORMAN — Oklahoma spent Friday and Saturday honoring the 1987-88 men's basketball team. The squad went 35-4, reached the national title game and is known as the Sooners' greatest team.

Former coach Billy Tubbs, who guided that squad, believes college basketball won't see a team like that again. It's hard to argue against it, because it's almost impossible to get NBA caliber players to stay in school for more than or two years.

The five starters were that season — guards Mookie Blaylock, Rickey Grace, forwards Dave Sieger and Harvey Grant and center Stacey King — were all upper classmen. Grace, Sieger and Grant were all seniors. Blaylock and King were juniors.

"Stacy stayed four years. Stacy, today, maybe would stay a year, two years max. Mookie probably would have stayed a year and been gone. Harvey: a year and gone," Tubbs said.

None of them left OU until their eligibility was exhausted. Grant was a first-round pick in the 1988 NBA draft. Grace went in the third round. King and Blaylock were both first-round selections in 1989.

Kentucky won the 2012 national championship in April starting five freshmen. Tubbs would've loved to take his guys up against a group of youngsters. When asked if his squad would have been the Wildcats by 40, Tubbs laughed.

"Forty if we played our reserves the last 30 seconds," he said. "Fifty if we played our first five the whole time."

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