Thunder look to the future at No. 14

Holden Krusemark | Sports Producer

The NBA Draft produces countless mock drafts from experts as a player’s stock rises or falls, but it can always be summed up in one word: unpredictable

However, with all of the unpredictability comes predictability and Sam Presti. There were options galore at the 14th pick, with Kelly Oubre Jr., Jerian Grant and Sam Dekker all on the board, but Presti stuck to his guns and went with his reported draft promise.

The Thunder are now selecting Cameron Payne – the sophomore point guard from Murray State, who averaged 20 points and 6 assists this past season – as their prized possession in this year’s draft.


So, what exactly can people faithful to Oklahoma City expect from the lottery pick this year?

Absolutely nothing.

This has to be a dream come true for Payne. Not only can he tell everyone he’s a lottery pick, but he files into a roster that is an immediate title contender, leaving him with no pressure whatsoever to be an immediate franchise savior.

The Thunder already have proven backups at the guard position, and depth is what makes them a threat to win it next – with the added bonus of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Cameron Payne gets to learn behind the veteran guards Westbrook and D.J. Augustin, and most importantly he’s a rookie with no expectations. He gets to go to work every day trying to prove himself to the coaches, while bulking up and working on fixing the flaws in his game.

This pick goes well beyond this year, because Sam Presti knows that his team will be title contenders, with the exception of another freak injury-prone year. So, that allows him to plan for the future in typical Presti fashion – never caught up in the present and always scheming for the future to keep his team in position to win each year.

Next year, D.J. Augustin will most likely be on his way out of Oklahoma City, leaving Cameron Payne as the backup – and a darn good backup at that.

Then the thing nobody really wants to talk about, Russell Westbrook becoming a free agent. Now, there’s no reason to believe that Westbrook will be leaving the Thunder, but if he does happen to bolt for, say Los Angeles, guess who Presti has to replace him in this scenario? It’s his lottery pick from two years ago, Cameron Payne.

The key to this draft is what it always is: trust Sam Presti and look forward to winning.

Renovations and raises on Board of Regents Wednesday agenda

Mason Prince | Sports Anchor

It has been almost a year since the Board of Regents approved a $370 million renovation for Owen Field, along with raises for Bob Stoops and Lon Kruger.

The Board of Regents will meet on Wednesday to discuss more stadium renovations and coaches salaries, but this time it will be smaller scale renovations and assistant football and basketball coaches.

In March, the Board approved the first development phase for the South End Zone, which will add new seating in the corners of the stadium, new suites, boxes and clubs.

Two new fan plazas will also be added to the south side of the stadium, along with a new Sooner Vision video board and sound system. In all, the Board is expecting the south side supplement to cost the University around $160 million.

Stoops and Kruger are not on the agenda as of now, so both of the coaches will most likely work under their salaries from last season (Stoops will make $5.4 million while Kruger will earn $2.85 million).

As for their assistants, the Regents agenda says that some are up for an “annual review of compensation.” Basketball assistants Chris Crutchfield, Steve Henson and Lew Hill all show up on the agenda as well as football assistants Bill Bedenbaugh, Jay Boulware, Cale Gundy, Tim Kish and Jerry Schmidt.

You may notice Stoops’ new and hopefully improved assistants are not this agenda. Lincoln Riley, Kerry Cooks, Diron Reynolds and Dennis Simmons had their contracts approved by the Board in January and March.

The OU defense hopes to improve from last year and so does Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops, who is set to make $850,000 this year. He is not on Wednesday’s agenda.

Do businessmen make good presidents?

Billionaires, millionaires, bankruptcies—businessmen of all types have run for the highest office in the land. In 2012, Republican candidate Mitt Romney campaigned unsuccessfully on his reputation as a businessman. With Fortune 100 business leaders Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina both declaring their candidacy for 2016, history tells us that business people in the modern era do not necessarily make for the best president.

America has seen 20 presidents since 1900, five of whom had million dollar business careers before entering politics. However, this list does not possess some of the most beloved leaders of our over 200 year history.

The 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding, led the nation through the beginning of the Roaring Twenties. Harding, a Republican, owned a successful newspaper before his career in politics began in the early 1900s. However, corruption and scandal marred Harding’s presidency even after his death. Harding’s foremost legacy left the country with an unemployment rate of 11 percent and on the verge of economic depression.

At the end of the 1920s, Republican Herbert Hoover’s first year as president saw the start of the greatest economic crisis in American history. Hoover began his career as a mining tycoon before entering politics. Hoover served as Secretary of Commerce during Harding’s administration and corruption followed him.

Hoover feared government intervention in the Great Depression would undermine economic growth in the future and, as such, his popularity quickly declined in his first and only term in office. By 1932, Hoover’s last year in office, nearly 1 in 4 Americans were unemployed and more than 5,000 banks failed. Hundreds of thousands of Americans found themselves without a home and lived in shanty towns near big cities, unlovingly dubbed “Hoovervilles.”

Georgia Democrat and peanut farmer Jimmy Carter became the 39th President of the United States in 1977. The governor of Georgia left the Navy and ran his father’s peanut farm for the better part of the 1950s before entering politics.
Carter surprised many when he won the Democratic nomination in 1977. Carter went on to create two cabinet departments: the Department of Energy and the Department of Education.

However, Carter is remembered as an ineffective and weak president unable to take on the Washington elites he attacked during his presidential run. During his one term as president, Carter’s tenure was filled with continued inflation and recession, as well as an economically damaging energy crisis. Carter also called for a boycott of the Moscow Olympics in 1980. The last straw for many Americans came in Carter’s isolation during the 444 day long Iran Hostage Crisis, that left eight Americans dead.

The last of the two successful businessmen presidents also happen to hold a relationship not in controversy, but in kinship as father and son.

The 41st President of the United States, Republican George H. W. Bush, founded his own oil company before becoming interested in politics.

Foreign policy drove Bush’s one term as president, which left the economy behind. The elder Bush’s presidency saw the fall of the Berlin Wall and a war in Kuwait against Saddam Hussein. Failing on his promise of “no new taxes,” Bush’s popularity waned as economic recession pressed on the last year of his presidency.

Like his father, George W. Bush had vast entrepreneurial success before assuming the presidency. The 43rd president owned part of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers before assuming a bigger role as Republican governor of Texas.

The younger Bush’s presidency began and ended in controversy. His election alone is still debated in present day with the Florida election scandal. Even though challenger Al Gore won the national popular vote, Bush was elected when Florida, with Governor Jeb Bush (brother to George), refused to recount votes that were marred in controversy of voter coercion, questioning voter intention if they really intended to vote for Bush on a confusing ballot.

The nation rallied around Bush in his response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Bush went on to finish his father’s work by taking down the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. On large part, Bush’s first term was dubbed a success.

However, Bush’s second term exposed the corruption of the first. Information was leaked exposing the doubt of whether or not the war in Iraq was justified. After ending major combat operations in the country, civil war erupted, causing more troops to be deployed into the region.

In 2005, the administration’s poor response to Hurricane Katrina began a decline that Bush would not come back from during his presidency. Bush’s approval rating during his second time averaged 37% according to Gallup, bottoming out below 30% in October 2008. By this time, the United States still fought in two foreign wars leaving trillions of dollars in debt. In the twilight of his presidency, Bush’s legacy was written when the country fell into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

The track records of the two businessmen who have declared for the Republican nomination mimics controversy as well. USA Today and CBS News dub Carly Fiorina as one of the worst CEOs in American history. Donald Trump continues to be one of the most controversial figures in American business. With those track records, the candidates may need to remember the legacy of their former businessmen in the White House when campaigning for the Republican nomination.

News, Weather, and Sports from the University of Oklahoma.


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