It wasn’t a pretty start for Oklahoma in their exhibition opener against New Zealand Select. Poor shooting, turnovers, and getting out-hustled by opponents marred the first few minutes of the game on Saturday night. A timeout by Sooners coach Lon Kruger righted the ship, so to speak, and then Oklahoma’s freshmen went to work.
Several hundred OU Basketball fans went to a Facebook Live feed to get a glimpse of freshman Trae Young, and while the hometown hero didn’t disappoint it was another freshman that had people talking in the first half.
Harrah, Oklahoma product Brady Manek paced the Sooners in the first half by shooting six-of-eight from the floor to lead the team with 15 points at the break. He would only score two points in the second half but still made a first impression that will last for a long time.
Young struggled from the floor in the opening half, shooting just 37.5% in under nine minutes of playing time. He went into the break with only 9 points on the stat sheet but found his rhythm in the second half on the way to a 21 point performance.
Granted that it was only an exhibition game, and the opponent was a little suspect, but this Oklahoma team looked quicker and more athletic than the one we saw struggle to the finish line last season. With only one senior on the roster there’s plenty of playing time for the youngsters and Kruger seems to be taking full advantage of his four exhibition games. Twelve players hit the floor on Saturday night with eight of them having scored eight points or more by the end of the third quarter.