First year OU basketball coach Porter Moser held his first Big 12 Media Day presser earlier this week. As always the Big 12 will be uber tough with Kansas at No. 3, Texas with Chris Beard at No. 5, and defending national champion Baylor coming in at No. 8 in the pre-season poll.
OU lost leading scorer Austin Reaves to the LA Lakers, lost second leading scorer Devion Harmon in the transfer portal to Oregon, and lost Brady Manek to the North Carlina Tar Heels in the transfer portal. That’s the top three scorers from last season’s team which lost to Gonzaga in the second round. Losing Devion was clearly a loss while in the case of Brady Manek… I think he needed a change of scenery following last season. I’m happy for both of them.
Two other Sooners left via the transfer portal as well with Kur Kuath heading to Marquette and Alondis Williams leaving for Wake Forest. I’ll miss these two guys as well…especially Kur since he’s from South Sudan and now that I’ve read ‘Sooley’ I’d be thinking of the book every time he took the court. I loved Kur’s work ethic and joy for the game. He improved quite a bit duing his stay at OU. He turned himself into a solid rotational player.
But on the positive side of the portal the Sooners added Jordan Goldwire from Duke and Tanner Grove from Eastern Washington to help give the roster some immediate veteran help on both ends of the court. Plus a nice guard in Marvin Johnson from Eastern Illinois and a nice forward in Ethan Chargois from SMU joined the Sooners in the portal as well as the younger Grove brother a small forward from Eastern Washington.
The Sooners return their best all around two way guard in my estimation in EJ Harkless, their smartest and most versatile player in Jalen Hill, and three point bomber Moj Gibson.
Defensively..I think the team will morph into a high energy group which is the trademark for Coach Moser’s teams. Transition defense will help the Sooners find their offensive identity. Offensively.. I would think probable leading scorer Tanner Grove and the rest of the team will have to evolve as a team offensively finding their way as they go since they’ve never played together as a group.
Defense comes first, then the offense evolves around what these guys are capable of doing night in and night out.
Defensively, with Goldwire and EJ Harkless…the Sooners could have one of the best defensive backcourts in the league. Which means OU could have one of the best defensive backcourts in the country. I can’t wait to watch the defensive transition at Lloyd Noble.
It was defensive transition on Billy Tubbs’ 1988 national runnerup team which took the team to the final game at Kemper Arena.
Mookie Blaylock, Harvey Grant, and Dave Seiger’s defense was the collective engine for that ball club. It always starts with defense if you have lofty team goals come March and April. That will never change in basketball or hockey for that matter.
Possession, transition, finish.
Obviously…it’s always a tough 18 game regular season assignment in the Big 12 as I would think O State will be a good team, plus I would expect West Virginia to be tough as well. There are no off nights in the Big 12.
I’m pleasantly surprised at the non-conference slate in that OU has Butler, UCF, Sweet 16 Arkansas, Florida, and Auburn on the schedule.
Arkansas had one of the best young teams in the country last season. That’s three SEC teams on the slate and should give OU hoops fans a look into their basketball future conference wise.
Coach Moser has already signed three new players for next season. So here we go with the Porter Moser Era for Oklahoma Sooner basketball.
I was glad to hear Coach Moser say he has such good relationships with both Mike Boynton and Chris Beard in that I have featured both on my blog and plan to feature both of them along with Coach Moser on my blog this basketball season.
Lon Kruger will be missed in that he was one of the classiest basketball coaches I’ve ever observed, but I hope he’s enjoying his retirement playing golf, being a grandfather, and watching his son coach UNLV.
This is perfect for me in that OU is starting a new era while the Thunder are trying to figure out their future in this market.