Last week, the Oklahoma Sooners Men's Basketball squad took to the court for the first scrimmage of the season. In an attempt to give OU fans a glimpse of the tradition as well as a first look at what the team was going to look like in game situations, the scrimmage took place in McCasland Fieldhouse. This week, Lon Kruger and his gang were at it again, this time in Lloyd Noble Center.
The most notable thing to take away from this scrimmage is pace. It has become very apparent that Kruger wants to put pressure on opposing team by using a heavy dose of the full-court press. Fortunately this season, the coaching staff will have the depth and athleticism at each position to accomplish this task.
While getting pressure and forcing turnovers will be key, nothing will be more important that the battle on the boards. Oklahoma will rely on the ability to rebound not only on offense to get a second chance at points but on defense to spring the transition game.
In transition, Buddy Hield is the kind of player who can take over. Guys like Cam Clark and Amath M"Baye can get up the court in a hurry to create an advantage in terms of numbers. Missouri ran with this kind of mindset and found wild success. Last season, the only real shooting threat was Steven Pledger but add to him the mix of Isaiah Cousins and the kick-out becomes much harder to defend.
The crowd was sparse as the focus was on the football game that was going to take place in several hours following the scrimmage. As I was sitting there, none other than the Julius Randle walks in and makes his way court side. Not exactly the showing I would have hoped for him to see as play was sloppy. Regardless, it was great to get a top recruit on campus for an unofficial visit.
A couple of players who jumped out to me:
Sam Grooms continues to develop his shot and is becoming more of a threat in getting to the basket. However, he seems to have regressed a bit in assist to turnover ratio. The hope here is that the numbers due to other guys sharing the wealth and the Oklahoma defense rotating and getting in the passing lanes.
Andrew Fitzgerald is a bigger threat inside than he was last season. He has an excellent mid-range game which makes him a nightmare when he chooses to face up against the defender. It is his physicality that continues to impress. With more muscle comes physical play and it certainly shows.
Isaiah Cousins has great range and a fluid shot. The youngsters are all going to be players to watch as they continue to develop while having a bigger role on this team.
|Notable Stats Totals (Soonersports.com)|
Buddy Hield: 20 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists
Amath M'Baye: 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 6-6 FTs
Isaiah Cousins: 15 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 6-8 FGs, 3-4 3FGs
Sam Grooms: 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 5-9 FGs
D.J. Bennett: 13 points, 5-5 FGs, 3-4 FTs
Steven Pledger: 12 points, 5-6 FGs, 2-2 3FGs
Cameron Clark: 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
Andrew Fitzgerald: 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 5-6 FGs
Romero Osby: 8 points, 4 rebounds, 4-7 FGs
Je'lon Hornbeak: 8 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists
Tyler Neal: 8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist
Ryan Spangler: 6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 3-3 FGs
Casey Arent: 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2-4 FGs
C.J. Cole: 2 points, 4 rebounds
Steve Noworyta: 2 points
James Fraschilla: 1 assist
Jarrod Kruger: 1 assist