?On playmaking: "If you hit four in a row, I won't pass it to you the next time. The law of averages says you're going to miss."
At least Kennedy delivers this blarney with a mischievous smile. "I'm talkin' noise," he says. "It brings out the best in the competition. It makes everybody play intense." Besides, it isn't bragging, according to Choo, if you can back it up. "And I can back it up. Most things I plan to do, I end up doing."
No lie there. The 6'5", 215-pound Kennedy was the Big Eight's top scorer and rebounder last season (21 points and 8.2 rebounds per game overall), and he made opponents miserable with his scavenger's instinct for the loose ball. "He's sneaky," says Sooners coach Billy Tubbs. "He gets what people call easy baskets but which are really the toughest stuff to get."
Kennedy's edge may be his on-court patter. It includes warnings to opponents that their shooting is suspect ("It's off! You know it's off!") and questionable sympathy ("Don't worry about it, I'll get the rebound"). Says Choo, "Some people you can take out of the game just by talking to'em."
Isn't he afraid that he'll wind up in the coach's doghouse with all his "talkin' noise"? It's more likely that Kennedy expresses his coach's own devilish leanings. "I like free spirits," Tubbs admits. "I like them better than people who always say what they're supposed to say." But no one, he adds, should be misled by Kennedy's clowning. "When it's game time, there's nobody more intent on winning than Choo Kennedy."
Choo's '86-87 forecast? "The Final Four, guaranteed." He laughs when confronted by a newspaper headline from last season, when the Sooners were 11-0 on the way to a 26-9 finish: OU'S KENNEDY PLANNING UNBEATEN CAGE SEASON. "Huh? Man!" He shakes his head. "I was talkin' noise then! We got blown out!" This season, he insists, will be different. "We've got the vets now. We'll lose two at the most."