Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel vowed during the season there would be change and quite possibly upheaval this offseason as the Sooners spiraled through a tumultuous season.
Chances are Capel didn't anticipate so much change within the first month of the offseason.
The Sooners' starting backcourt and leading scorers Willie Warren (sophomore) and Tommy Mason-Griffin (freshman), as well as leading rebounder and former McDonald's All-American Tiny Gallon (freshman), have each declared for June's NBA draft, while reserves Orlando Allen and Ray Willis have left the team presumably for yet to be determined programs.
Then there is the troubling issue of Gallon's investigation by the school and NCAA, after a TMZ report last month connected Gallon with a $3,000 deposit into a banking account in his and his mother's name made by a financial adviser out of Florida.
Assistant coach and top recruiter Oronde Taliaferro abruptly left the program last month amid speculation he could somehow be linked to a potential NCAA investigation.
And while all of this was going on, there was silence from the face and voice of the Oklahoma program. That was until Friday when Capel broke from his silence to address some, but not all, of the issues that threaten to keep the Sooners in a tailspin for years to come.
Capel's message to the OU fans, alumni base, media and recruits seemed simple: The doom and gloom isn't as bad as it appears.
"There is hope. There absolutely is hope. I'm excited about where we're going forward to," Capel said during a press conference at OU's Lloyd Noble Center Friday. "Sometimes, in order to get better, you have to cleanse. Sometimes you have to lose some things.
"Sometimes things have to fall apart in order for them to fall back together."
Things could get a lot worse before they get better, however. Oklahoma is coming off a disappointing 13-18 year, the program's worst season in 29 years. And right now the Sooners have just four scholarship players on their roster after Gallon declared Tuesday.
"I'm happy for Tiny and wish him nothing but success and luck," Capel said in a released statement Tuesday. "This is something Tiny wants to do and, as I've said before, I'm not one to stand in the way of a career choice that one of my players thinks is in his best interest."
With Gallon and Mason Griffin exiting, that leaves the team without any true point guards or post players, even with the recruiting class of three coming in.
"That's something we're working on in recruiting," he said.
As for Gallon, Capel seemed rather nonchalant about his future with the program when he met with the media Friday, days before the official announcement Gallon was leaving school. Some of that could be dismissed by the fact Capel can't discuss an ongoing NCAA investigation.
But some of it could be the realization that bringing in highly ranked players like Gallon and Mason-Griffin may not have been worth the headache they've both obviously caused the program.
Capel admits to being caught somewhat by surprise that Mason-Griffin was declaring for the NBA after just one season. But the coach is doing his best to be supportive of the decision.
"I didn't think he would be a one-year guy. I thought he'd be a guy, who would be sort of my Sherron Collins, a guy who would be here at least three years or four years maybe. But it just didn't work out like that," said Capel, referencing the Kansas point guard who just completed his fourth year of eligibility with the Jayhawks. "Nothing really surprises me much in the world of basketball anymore."
But losing a star player to the NBA seems like the least of Capel's problems these days. The most painstaking is the investigation surrounding Gallon. Capel would not discuss the Gallon investigation or why Taliaferro abruptly resigned.
What is telling about the Taliaferro resignation is, when The Oklahoman filed an open records request to look at Taliaferro's phone records, those records were shielded by the university, citing that the records were part of an investigation. What isn't known is whether the investigation is part of the Gallon probe or another investigation that hasn't come to light yet.
"Because a review is in process, it's not appropriate for me to respond with anything that's ongoing with the review right now," Capel said. "I do look forward to a point in time when I can talk to you and talk to you in detail about the review. Right now is not that time."
Any findings of wrongdoing could be a huge blow to the OU athletic department which is already on NCAA probation through May 23 because of violations committed by both the football and men's basketball teams.
Athletic director Joe Castiglione could not be reached for comment by FanHouse, but a prepared statement was made available about the investigation.
"In the review that is ongoing at this time, we are working jointly with the NCAA in a thorough examination of the facts," the statement read in part. "We have received numerous requests for information as it is being developed and prior to its final review and assessment. As always, to assure a credible and fair review, it would be inappropriate to provide or discuss such investigative information until the process is complete. That also would include any comment from Jeff Capel regarding an on-going review.
"As has been the University's practice, we have responded to requests and released all of our reports to the NCAA when final, including reports of rules violations, if any.
"We look forward to a time of resolution in this matter so that we can discuss it more fully, and our track record indicates that we are willing to do so when the time is right. Until then, we appreciate the patience of everyone as we do our very best to review this matter thoroughly. We desire an outcome that provides an accurate account of what has taken place, rather than fragments of information that could potentially affect our ability to conduct a fair and thorough investigation and lead to premature and incorrect conclusions."
However this plays out, it's already a stain on the once impeccable reputation of the Duke alum Capel. There had been some speculation that Capel was considering skipping out on the seven-year, $13.28 million extension he signed with the school after the 2008-09 season to take over at either Wake Forest or Clemson.
Capel denied there was any contact while reaffirming his commitment to the Sooners.
"I was never contacted by Clemson or Wake Forest," Capel said. "I was at a recruiting meal last Friday, and I started getting these texts that I'm in Charlotte interviewing with Clemson. And I'm at Charleston's (restaurant in Norman, Okla.) ... If I wasn't happy here, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't do that to my family.
"And as far as having full support, I know I have the full support of my athletic director, of our university president and the people I come in contact with. Again, I can't do anything about what people perceive."
Capel said the perception of his program by recruits hasn't changed. November signees Cameron Clark and T.J. Taylor -- both shooting guards -- apparently haven't wavered even with the possibility of NCAA sanctions and the prospects of even more struggling on the court this upcoming season.
"It was, 'OK, coach, what do I have to?'" Capel said. "T.J. [said], 'What do I have to do to be able to help us at the point?' Cameron [said], 'What do I have to do to be able to have more of an impact right away?'"
So for now, Capel has a senior coming back in guard Cade Davis and three sophomores (if Gallon returns) that also includes Steven Pledger and Andrew Fitzgerald and three incoming freshmen. Capel hopes to add a couple more players to his roster, but now he seems confident he has enough to build on.
"For a lot of people, it may look doom and gloom," he said. "But for me, it's exciting. It's certainly a challenge, but it's something I think we're all up for."