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Felton Jeff Capel III (born February 12, 1975) is a former college basketball player at Duke Universitymarker and the current men's basketball head coach at the University of Oklahomamarker.

Youth

Capel is from a basketball family. His father is basketball coach Jeff Capel II, assistant coach for the Charlotte Bobcats and former head coach at Old Dominion University, and his younger brother Jason played basketball at Duke's biggest rival, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a senior at South View High School in Hope Mills, North Carolinamarker, Jeff led his team to the 1993 state championship defeating Charlotte powerhouse South Mecklenburg 73–72 with a last second lay-up. He also set school career records in points (2,066), rebounds (668), and assists (663).

College career

While at Duke University (1993–1997), he earned a starting position as a freshman and was a starting guard on the basketball team for four years. On February 2, 1995 in the regular season game played at homemarker against UNC, with Duke trailing 95–92 at the end of the first overtime, Capel hit a running 40-foot shot at the buzzer which sent the game into double overtime. Although Duke lost the game 102–100, Capel's shot was hailed as one of the most memorable plays in Duke basketball history, and it was nominated for an ESPY Award for College Basketball Play of the Year.

Capel's college career was marked with success. During his years as a Blue Devil, he racked up 1,601 points, 433 assists, and 220 three-point field goals. He finished his career among Duke's all-time Top 10 in minutes played, three-point field goal percentages, three-point field goals, and assists.

Professional career

Following his graduation from Duke, Capel played professional basketball for two years, playing in Francemarker and the CBA. Capel was also drafted in 1997 by the Raleigh Cougars of the USBL.

Coaching career

He began his coaching career serving as an assistant coach under his father, Jeff Capel II, at Old Dominion Universitymarker for the 2000–2001 season. In 2001, he joined the coaching staff of Virginia Commonwealth Universitymarker as an assistant. He was promoted to head coach of the Rams for the 2002–2003 season--making him, at the time, the youngest head coach in Division I men's college basketball (27 years old).

Virginia Commonwealth University

In his four years as head coach at VCU, Capel guided the Rams to a record number of wins (79) and the highest winning percentage (.658) of any Division I program in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Following the 2003–04 season, Capel was named both the Richmond Times-Dispatch and VaSID state Coach of the Year after leading the Rams to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996. Coaching highlights include a near-upset of Wake Forest in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Surprisingly, one of his toughest opponents was the Division II crosstown rival, Virginia Union University. Capel's Rams lost two years in a row to the Panthers on VCU's home court. However, he did lead the Rams to a 7–3 record against CAA rival, and former employer, Old Dominion.

In 2005, Capel was named an assistant coach in the USA Men's World University Games Team, joining then Manhattan head coach Bobby Gonzalez in assisting Villanovamarker head coach Jay Wright. The United States won the gold medal in İzmirmarker, Turkeymarker, in August.

University of Oklahoma

On April 11, 2006, Capel was named the head coach of the Oklahomamarker men's basketball team, succeeding Kelvin Sampson. Though the Sooner Nation as a whole greeted Capel's hiring with optimism, one notable downside of the coaching change emerged--Sampson's departure caused three of the players who had signed with OU (once considered a top 5 recruiting class) to rethink each's decision to attend OU. Scottie Reynolds went on to Villanova, where he led his team to the NCAA tournament and Damion James was a key part to a Texas team which was defeated by Southern California in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

First Season (2006–2007)

In his first year as head coach, the Sooners finished 16–15. After going 9–4 in non-conference games, with losses to Memphis, Purdue, Villanova, and Alabama, the Sooners started a promising 6–3 in conference play, before losing their final 7 conference games. After winning only one game in the Big 12 Conference Tournament, losing to eventual conference tournament champion Kansas, this caused the Sooners to miss any form of postseason play, which snapped the nation's longest streak of 23 consecutive years in the postseason, starting with Billy Tubbs' second year in 1982 and ending with Kelvin Sampson's final year in 2006.

Second Season (2007–2008)

In his second year, after signing McDonald's All-American Forward Blake Griffin, the Sooners showed vast signs of improvement and finished 21–10 during the regular season (9–7 in Big 12 play) earning them a #4 seed in the Big 12 Tournament, where they won one game before losing to Texas in the semi-finals. They received a #6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where they defeated St. Joseph's in the first round before losing to #3 seed Louisvillemarker in the second round.

Third Season (2008–2009)

Player of the Year Candidate Blake Griffin announced he would be returning for his sophomore season, forgoing a possible lottery-pick status in the NBA Draft. Coupled with the signing of another McDonald's All-American guard in Willie Warren, the 2008-09 season looked to be promising.

The team experienced one of the best starts in school history at 25–1, until Blake Griffin was sidelined with a concussion during the first half of the OU-Texas game on 2/21/09. The Sooners went on to lose consecutive games for the first time all season, losing to Texas by 5 in Austinmarker and Kansas by 9 in Normanmarker. Without their star player, the Sooners fell short. Griffin returned to the lineup on 2/28/09 and the Sooners returned to their winning ways defeating Texas Tech by 15 in Lubbockmarker on 2/28/09, before losing on the road to Missouri and finishing the regular season by sweeping in-state rival Oklahoma State.

After a first-round bye in the Big 12 Tournament, the #2 seeded Sooners lost to the #7 seeded Cowboys by 1 point during the final seconds of the game.

Capel's Sooners were granted a #2 seed for the NCAA Tournament, and easily beat #15 seed Morgan State in the first round, #10 seed Michigan in the second round, and #3 seed Syracuse in the Sweet 16, whose vaunted 2-3 zone defense did nothing to slow down the Sooner's hot shooting from the perimeter.

However, after hitting nine 3-pointers during the previous game with Syracuse, the Sooner guards went 0-15 from beyond the arc during the first 35 minutes of their Elite 8 game against North Carolina, before finally finishing 2-19 in the game. This ultimately led to their demise by the Tar Heels on March 29, losing 60-72. Blake Griffin, who is expected to forgo his final two years of eligibility to enter the NBA draft, is expected to be the top pick.

Looking Ahead

Even with the loss of starters Austin Johnson, Taylor Griffin, and possibly Blake Griffin, the Sooners have two incoming McDonald's All-American recruits in point guard Tommy Mason-Griffin and center Keith "Tiny" Gallon. Paired with returning McDonald's All-American guard Willie Warren, guard Tony Crocker, and reserve forward Juan Patillo, the Sooners will have a chance to post yet another successful season and poised to perhaps make another deep run into the NCAA Tourney.

Capel's record at OU is currently 69-33 (0.676) overall, 28-20 (0.583) conference, with 2 NCAA Tournament Appearances, and one Elite Eight appearance. In the Big 12, Capel has yet to win a Conference Tournament Title or Regular Season Title.

Capel is averaging 23 wins per season (23-11) and 9 conference wins per season (9-7), so far almost exactly on track with his predecessors Tubbs & Sampson.

Personal life

Capel is married to fellow Duke alumna Kanika Réale Blue, daughter of Daniel T. Blue, Jr. and Edna E. Blue. They wed in 2003. The two had their first child April 26, 2007 by the name of Cameron Isabella Capel.

Head coaching record

References




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