NORMAN, Okla. —
Bridge Creek's former star player Ryan Spangler took a round-about route to end up less than 30 miles away at the University of Oklahoma.
The journey to home at the Lloyd Noble Center went via storied Division I program Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., where he averaged 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds in 6.6 minutes per game under head coach Mark Few as a freshman in the 2011-12 season.
But there was something missing.
"I'm a big family guy, and they were only able to make it up there for a few games," Spangler said. "It's so far away, and with work schedules and everything, it was just difficult for them to come watch. I'm glad to be back near home."
Fast forward two years, and it's clear the switch did nothing to hold back Spangler's progress. He leads the team with 10 rebounds per game and 24 blocks on the season, all while averaging 10.6 points per game in 24 starts. It's a bit out of nowhere for those on the outside looking in, but Spangler clearly took his time to settle during the 2012-13 year he had to sit out the season.
"I figured it would be an up and down kind of thing," he said about his first full season of play with OU. "I don't want to say I expected to have this success, but that year that I had to spend off, I worked hard. Just in practice and watching the game from the bench, it's a different perspective and I learned a lot from that."
What's more, parents Larry and LeAnn Spangler and any member of his big Sooner following family or friend from the Tuttle-Bridge Creek area can come watch him any time they want. He can also make a few trips to some Bobcat games.