No Place Like Home-Spangler A Sooner At Last
"He's just brought to this team a really hard-nosed attitude," said Oklahoma senior forward Tyler Neal."
"He's a blue-collared guy, a team first attitude," said OU Head Coach Lon Kruger."
Sophomore forward Ryan Spangler has always bled crimson and cream.
"Growing up right down the road, you want to come here to play basketball for your family and you, so everyone that supported you can come watch you play," said Spangler.
But that dream was put on hold.
The homegrown kid out of Tuttle, Oklahoma grew up a devoted Sooners fan. He attended many football games, and always enjoyed watching his favorite player, Rocky Calmus.
Spangler attended Bridgecreek High School, where he was a standout football and basketball player. But eventually, Ryan decided to focus solely on the hardwood.
His senior year, Spangler led his team to the 4A state title game against Douglass. That season, he was named the Oklahoma Gatorade player of the year.
While Spangler received offers from big-name programs, and in-state schools like Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts, and Tulsa, Oklahoma wasn't one of them. Spangler decided to play basketball at Gonzaga.
"I learned a lot from the coaches up there," said Spangler. "Just how to work hard everyday. The biggest thing is how to win. They win up there all."
But by the end of his freshman season, Ryan wanted was getting the itch to come home. OU Head Coach Lon Kruger took care of the rest.
"When Ryan made the decision to get the release from Gonzaga, we were all fired up about that," said Kruger. Very easy decision, right in our backyard. Good person, good athlete, great family, all the things that you're looking for in a recruit."
"I just knew that they would make me better, get my game to next level if I wanted to play after this," said Spangler. "I just new they were going to bring this tradition back and start winning."
As a transfer, Ryan had to sit out last season due to NCAA rules. However, he made the most of his time by improving his game and learning from former Sooner Romero Osby.
"We went at each other everyday," said Ryan. "He got the best of me some days and every once in awhile I'd get the best of him. He just made me a better all the way around, just having to guard him, how good he is."
So how good is Ryan Spangler, the Sooner? Fans are about to find out this season.
"He runs the floor so well, and he can step outside and shoot it," said Neal. He's fun to watch."
There's only one Oklahoma, and no place like home. Something Ryan has always known.
"I've been waiting for this my whole life," Spangler said. "My whole family will be there to watch me. It's going to be great."