College Basketball practices began a little over a week ago, which means Sooner Basketball is right around the corner. Even though Oklahoma is well into the Football season, there are still those who can't wait for November to get here. The Sooners lineup will look almost unrecognizable as just one starter returns to the starting lineup. The losses of Sam Grooms, Romero Osby, Steven Pledger and Amath M'Baye will be difficult for the Sooners to overcome. Those key losses not only take away experience from the team, but also size from the Sooners roster. Vetrans, transfers and freshmen will shape the youthful starting lineup for a Sooners team that has a lot in store for the 2013-14 season.
PG: Jordan Woodard
replacing Sam Grooms at point will likely be the freshmen Jordan Woodard, who started all five games for the Sooners during their European tour. During this stretch he amassed 9.4 points per game while snatching 15 steals and lead OU in assists per game with 5.6. Woodard also showed his long range shot, hitting 5 of 9 three's on the tour. The point guard position wasn't a huge point of emphasis in Oklahoma's offense last season, so there shouldn't be a lot of pressure weighing on Woodard. That is especially beneficial for him as freshmen typically don't handle pressure that well.
SG: Buddy Hield
As the Sooners one true starter from a year ago, it is up to the sophomore Buddy Hield to provide OU with a large portion of the scoring. In addition to seeing the 4th most playing time for the Sooners from last season, Hield will also be Oklahoma's top returning scorer. Hield had an impressive freshmen year for the Sooners, averaging 7.8 PPG and 4.2 RPG. Hield was withheld from playing on the Euro tour, so it will be interesting to see if he can retain, and even improve, his scoring abilites. In his place was Isaiah Cousins, who averaged 13.2 points a game and 5 boards. Cousins impressive performance during the tour could cause other players to have to share playing time this season.
SG: Je'lon Hornbeak
Je'Lon Hornbeak is the third guard projected in my starting lineup. Hornbeak, much like Hield, had a solid first year, averaging 5.6 PPG and 2.7 RPG. Hornbeak had just five games last season where he scored in double digits. In five games in Europe he averaged 12.2 points. Hopefully this is an indicator that his scoring will be much higher this season. A huge factor for his success in Europe was the increase of playing time, something he will get a lot more of this season.
SF: Cameron Clark
Cameron Clark could prove to be the Sooners most important player this season, as he provides the Sooners with much needed experience and size, something this lineup severely lacks. Clark trails behind Hield, in terms of returning scoring, as he averaged 6.5 PPG and 3.2 RPG last season. Clark's scoring has actually been trending down since his freshmen year, but perhaps with all the shooting opportunities Osby and Pledger will leave behind, he can average double digit scoring for the first time in his career. This goal is very reachable for Clark, especially after the Euro tour as he lead the Sooners in scoring with 16.8 PPG in five games. Clark's 6 ft 7 height helped him grab 35 total rebounds, which will important for the Sooners offense this season.
PF: Ryan Spangler
Oklahoma native Ryan Spangler returns to his home state after making a brief stop at Gonzaga. While playing for the Bulldogs he averaged just 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds a game. He only average 6.6 minutes a game while in Spokane, a huge reason for his transfer back home. Spangler will receive a lot more playing time this season, especially if he can play like he did in Europe. Spangler averaged 12.4 points a game and even hit well behind the arc as he hit 5 of 8 three point attempts. His 6 ft 8, 230 lb frame allowed him to lead the Sooners in rebounding with 8 boards a game.