Love and passion.
It may sound simple, but love and passion are the core beliefs around which newly minted Oklahoma women’s basketball coach Jennie Baranczyk plans to build her program.
“For me, love it the strongest human emotion that we have,” Baranczyk said Tuesday in her introductory press conference inside the Lloyd Noble Center. “I love this game and I want every person who is associated with our program to feel that love. I want them to love it that much too.”
That passion and love of basketball has taken Baranczyk from her home of Des Moines, IA, where she had to play basketball with boys as a kid because there were no girls basketball teams at the local YMCA, to Oklahoma.
In Baranczyk’s previous head coaching stop at Drake, her culture off the floor bred success on the floor. In her nine seasons at the helm of the Bulldogs, Drake went 192-96 (67 percent), reaching the NCAA Tournament three times from the Missouri Valley Conference.
Not only did Baranczyk’s teams win, they entertained. In the past seven years, Drake ranked sixth in the country in points per game (80.1), second in effective field goal percentage (54 percent) and third in assists per game (20.6).
Baranczyk’s high-powered offense won’t be left behind at Drake either.
“I think these women really fit well in terms of the style and system that we will play, and we do want to get up-tempo,” she said. “And in Oklahoma, again you think about the background of basketball, there's a fundamental style of play that's really fun.
“And honestly, I want these women to love playing, that's where the assists come. That's just a byproduct of really them loving to play and loving to play together. So we will instill that. I also think it fits really well in the Big 12.”
As Baranczyk adjusts to the Big 12 too, she wants to ensure she remains versatile while adapting her style to get the best out of her roster.
Building a great foundation will be the key to navigating the ever-changing landscape of college basketball, between recruiting high schoolers and dealing with the challenges of the transfer portal, Baranczyk said.
“The only thing that I can control is the culture and to be very intentional about the culture. And like I said, our culture is going to be based on loving what we do, how we do it and who we get to do it with,” she said. “So that's something that we want these women not to be bought in, we want these women to be all in.
“We also are going to bring in women that wants to come play at Oklahoma, and they want to be part of something special, so that's really where our focus will be.”
Playing with great passion and love of the game should lend itself to hard working teams, and Baranczyk said she intends to bring that product to every arena in the Big 12 night in and night out.
“When you put that jersey on, you're not just putting that jersey on to just go play in a basketball game,” Baranczyk said. “You're putting that jersey on to play with your team and you're playing for a bigger picture. So then the playing hard, it’s not something you do; it's just part of who you are. You step across those lines and that's just what we do.”