NORMAN, Okla. —
"One of my best friends has a sister, Hope Dawkins, who plays for [No. 15 Bridge Creek.," Spangler said. "I've been back to hang out with him and I've watched them play a couple of times."
That kind of support surely helps the 6' 8" sophomore's confidence, but there's more than the family aspect that would have attracted the Sooner program.
They would remember the 28.9 points per game, 17.4 rebounds per game, six blocks and 4.5 assists per game Spangler averaged in his senior year at Bridge Creek. As it was, Gonzaga was the team that pursued him the most before Lon Kruger took over at OU in the summer after Spangler joined the Bulldogs.
"I really liked Gonzaga, and the coach was a good guy," Spangler said. "I was in his office an entire week just talking. He helped me to try and get over not being back home and to just keep working. It's just what I decided to do."
In the middle of all of this were some attention-grabbing performances against Iowa State — when he scored 16 points and brought down 15 rebounds to hand the Cyclones their first loss of the season — and in Bedlam at Norman. His 15 points and 17 rebounds helped the Sooners topple the team that carried the torch for Oklahoma basketball heading into the season.
"I like the big games, but I think it's more just the way those games played out," Spangler said. "All the games are big to me, because if you get behind in the Big 12, it's very hard to get back up."
That much is evident with the recent struggles endured by Oklahoma State in the last few weeks. The Sooners sit third in the Big 12 standings and are on the fringes of breaking in the AP Top 25 ahead of games this week against Texas Tech and the Cowboys in Stillwater. Much like Spangler's stat line this season, OU's success is a bit of a surprise; to those on the outside, that is.