#27 Oklahoma Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

Oklahoma Sooners
2017-2018 Overall Rank: #27
Conference Rank: #4 Big 12
Oklahoma Logo
In a rebuilding year, Oklahoma missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2011-12 season. The Sooners won just 11 games in their first season without Buddy Hield. This year, Oklahoma is expected to rebound behind the arrival of Trae Young along with the development of their young guards. The Sooners had one of the youngest teams in the Big 12 last year, and most of those guys have returned with experience under their belt. Lon Kruger should have his team right back in the hunt for a Big 12 title.
2016-17 Record: 11-20, 5-13
2016-17 Postseason:
Lon Kruger
Coach Record:
122-77 at Oklahoma, 601-381 overall
Who’s Out:
The biggest loss for the Sooners will be leading scorer Jordan Woodard. Woodard played just 20 games as a senior, averaging 14.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.9 steals. Woodard started 124 games in his Oklahoma career and was a key player on three NCAA Tournament teams. Woodard was the senior leader of the team last year, and the Sooners will need someone to step up in his place. Darrion Strong-Moore and Dante Buford both transferred after reserve roles last season. Buford played just 10.9 minutes per game as a sophomore, averaging 3.8 points and 1.5 rebounds. Strong-Moore played only one season at Oklahoma as a junior college transfer and averaged 3.8 points as well. CJ Cole has graduated after appearing in 16 games last year.
Who’s In:
Lon Kruger added three freshmen and a junior college transfer to his roster this season. Trae Young is the headliner of the group as a five-star, top-25 prospect who will play point guard for the Sooners. Young was a top-five point guard in the nation, and he put up ridiculous stats in high school, averaging 40+ points per game. He was the top-ranked player in Oklahoma, so getting him was big for Kruger and the Sooners. Brady Manek joins the Sooners as a four-star forward who stands 6-9. Manek was the second ranked player in Oklahoma, right behind Young. Hannes Polla rounds out the incoming freshmen for the Sooners. Polla is a 6-11 center who was a three-star recruit out of Finland. Polla competed on multiple Finnish National Teams, which should help him with adjusting to the NCAA. Lastly, Ty Lazenby comes to Oklahoma as a junior college transfer. Lazenby is a 6-5 guard who averaged 22.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game last year. Lazenby was named to the All-NJCAA first team, so he should be able to make an impact right away.
Who to Watch:
The Sooners will return seven of their top eight scorers from last year, led by Kameron McGusty. McGusty started 17 games as a freshman and averaged 10.9 points and 2.2 rebounds. McGusty stepped up when Woodard got injured and was named to the All-Big 12 honorable mention team. Rashard Odomes had an impressive sophomore season, starting 30 games and averaging 10.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists. Odomes was the most improved player on the team and will look to continue to grow as a junior. Kristian Doolittle had a solid freshman campaign, averaging 9.1 points and 6.2 rebounds. Doolittle was in line for a big jump as a sophomore, but he will be suspended through the fall semester. Khadeem Lattin is the final starter leftover from the Sooners’ Final Four team two years ago. Lattin averaged 8.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and led the team with 2.1 blocks per game as a junior. Christian James started 14 games as a sophomore, averaging 7.9 points and 3.7 rebounds. James will need to step up as a junior while Doolittle is suspended. Jamuni McNeace is an athletic power forward who played 15.5 minutes per game last season, averaging 4.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. Jordan Shepherd played 17.0 minutes per game as a freshman, tallying 4.3 points and 1.5 assists. Lastly, Matt Freeman played in 26 games as a redshirt freshman a year ago.
Final Projection:
Oklahoma took a step back last season, but the Sooners appear to be ready to compete in the Big 12 again this year. Lon Kruger had a very young team last year, and Jordan Woodard’s injury all but ended the season in February. However, those young players acquired some much-needed experience which will pay off this year. The Sooners get almost every rotation player back sans Woodard, while adding top recruit Trae Young to replace Woodard at point guard. Oklahoma should be one of the most improved teams in the nation, and will be a top-25 caliber team for most of the season.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament
Projected Starting Five:
Trae Young, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season

Kameron McGusty, Sophomore, Guard, 10.9 points per game
Rashard Odomes, Junior, Guard, 10.1 points per game
Brady Manek, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Khadeem Lattin, Senior, Center, 8.4 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.0 (180th in nation, 7th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 74.2 (222, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.3 (281, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.1 (138, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.2 (286, 9)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.3 (207, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.1 (112, 4)
Rebound Margin: 0.5 (174, 7)
Assists Per Game: 10.6 (331, 10)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.8 (255, 10)

Madness 2017 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#21 Trae Young
#117 Brady Manek