Jordan Woodard commits to Sooners

EDMOND, Oka. -- The No. 1 thing Edmond (Okla.) Memorial point guard Jordan Woodard remembers about Lon Kruger the first time they met was how honest the Oklahoma basketball coach was.

That honesty has never gone away, and the relationship between Woodard and Kruger has only gotten better. So good that Woodard decided he no longer needed to look around.

Woodard, a four-star prospect, committed to the Sooners on Thursday evening.

"I just felt like it was time," Woodard said. "No school and no coach had shown as much interest in me the way OU has. The Sooners have been talking to me since my sophomore year."

Woodard was among the first offers Kruger made when he took over the program last year. He also had an offer from Memphis and was receiving strong interest from Stanford.

One of Kruger's goals was to try to keep the best in-state talent in the state. With Woodard locked down, Kruger is showing his dedication to that concept.

"No coach has trusted me more as a player than Coach Kruger," Woodard said. "I feel like I can come in here and make an immediate impact and do it front of all my family and friends."

Woodard is going to take his official visit to OU this weekend but said he no longer felt the need to wait on his decision. He said he felt like he has always known OU was the spot for him. But he wanted to play one last summer of AAU basketbal before deciding anything.

"I was able to talk to Coach Kruger after finishing the summer circuit and that kind of clinched it for me," Woodard said. "It wasn't anything that he said, but it felt right. I had time to relax and talk it over with my family.

"This was never about waiting to see if another school would show interest or anything like that. I never thought it would be done this early, but I'm excited about the future."

Woodard was able to learn about the recruiting process from his older brother, James, who is now a freshman at Tulsa. He said James helped him out and answered any questions he had along the way. Even though they won't play together, Jordan is happy to still get a chance to play near his brother.

Woodard showed his character at OU's camp in June. Already with an offer from the Sooners, Woodard had no reason to attend the camp. He was in Chicago that weekend for the Deron Williams camp. Instead of going home to rest, he went straight from the airport to the Lloyd Noble Center gym to help out his team.

He said he never considered what the OU coaches thought of his decision. He needed to be out there for the team.

"I take a lot of pride in my work ethic," Woodard said. "I want to show everybody that I have a college work ethic right now."

His game will have to change this season, and he knows it. Woodard was more of a facilitator last season. This season he will have to step up more as a scorer, which isn't a problem for him.

"I will definitely be more aggressive this season. It's what the team is going to need," Woodard said. "A lot will fall on my shoulders, but I'm ready. When it comes down to it, I'm always about the team first. But this year the best way to help the team will be to be more aggressive."

His high school coach says there's one trait about Woodard that makes him unique from other talented players.

"The ability to compete is what sets Jordan apart," Edmond Memorial coach Shane Cowherd said. "A lot of kids have skills and a lot of kids can put up numbers but not everybody can compete like him. It's not easy, but he makes it look easy."

Woodard is the first commitment for OU's 2013 class and the first in-state product to commit out of high school to the Sooners since Tyler Neal for the 2010 class.

But it didn't stop there for OU. The Sooners added another commitment, this time for 2014. Power forward Jacob Hammond (Duncan, Okla./Oklahoma Sky) confirmed Thursday afternoon he has also pledged to the Sooners.

What stood out to Hammond was the fact OU was the first school to show major interest in him. Kruger and the coaches were talking to Hammond even before his sophomore season, something the junior never forgot.

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