Let me start off by saying, no this is not a commercial for All-State…
In 2016, the Oklahoma Sooners earned a spot in the Final Four as Lon Kruger officially resurrected a dying program. Now far removed from the appearance, OU posted a 0-2 Big 12 Tournament record alongside a 1-2 NCAA Tournament record during the course of the previous two campaigns. The numbers give rise to doubts concerning the future of the program. However, I believe the doubts and concerns are unwarranted at this point in time. Why?
After losing Trae Young to the NBA Draft as expected, the coaching staff made proper preparations by signing a combo guard. From there, the unthinkable happened as two rising stars announced their intentions to transfer. The first was Kameron McGusty whose two year stay with Oklahoma positioned the guard to take over a majority of the scoring responsibilities as a junior.
Second was none other than Jordan Shepherd who played backup to the aforementioned Young. Possessing two years of experience, the point guard stood to assume the starting role within the program. But, the Carolina native decided to explore greener pastures. Transferring from Norman, Shepherd’s decision left the Sooners without a floor general.
Add the graduates to the numbers and it was clear, Oklahoma — more specifically Lon Kruger — faced an exodus at the end of season.
Previously, the Sooners signed two recruits as members of the incoming 2018 class leaving plenty of holes on the roster. Not to mention, the recruiting class ranked 116th in the country. Gathering the facts, the outcome looked bleak for the program from the onset which led to the league predicting OU would finish eighth in conference. To say that Oklahoma failed to live up to expectations or exceed expectations would be a farse. Claiming seven wins to eleven losses, the program finished eighth in the league as predicted.
Moving forward, Lon Kruger signed a total of six incoming players. One of those happens to be the vaunted De’Vion Harmon, a 4-star prospect out of Denton, Texas. Anchoring the efforts, Harmon helped the Sooners climb to No. 16 in the national recruiting rankings. Yet, OU also signed Victor Iwuakor who is a member of the top 100 recruits from across the land. With three returning starters, these two could easily compliment the efforts on the court as Harmon and Iwuakor fill the vacated positions.
So, in the words of Stevie Wonder, “don’t worry ’bout a thing!”