Lon Kruger was able to make a killing off his guards this season and will no doubt be looking to ride them into March Madness. Buddy Hield (16.8 PPG), Isaiah Cousins (11 PPG), and Jordan Woodard (10.3 PPG) were three of Oklahoma's top four scorers with swingman Cam Clark also adding 15.2 points per game.
Its been a winning formula for the Sooners as they're heading into the postseason with a 23-8 record and the #2 seed in the Big Twelve Tournament. but Kruger knows there's more work to be done. "Guys have really played well," Coach Kruger told me on Monday. "Now have to finish strong!!"
There's no question that Oklahoma has the players to make a run, not just in the Big Twelve Tournament but into the NCAA Tournament as well. However, there's also no question that there's room to improve this team in one specific area. They've got to get bigger!
Of course this isn't breaking new ground with Kruger, he knows the value of a big man. Ryan Spangler nearly averaged a double-double this season (9.9 points/9.4 rebounds per game) by being the hardest working forward in the conference. He often won the battles under the boards by sheer hustle but he was also often out numbered. Reinforcements are on the way though.
The Oklahoma coaching staff is increasing the size of the roster with their 2014 class. Dante Buford (6-7/200), Khadeem Lattin (6-9/205), and Jamuni McNeace (6-10/200) are all set to arrive on campus this fall and immediately make a case for time on the floor.
Buford is a power forward who never met a showtime dunk that he didn't like. His violently attacks the rim and will have the ability to be the offensive threat under the basket that draws defensive attention away from the perimeter.
Lattin and McNeace are centers who can defend the rim, grab boards, and have the ball worked in to them on offense. Instead of watching Ryan Spangler get worn down throughout the game, the Sooners will have the potential to wear on the other teams for a change. In addition to be a presence under the rim, Lattin will also bring a decent mid-range jumper with him.
All three big men in Oklahoma's 2014 class are also extremely athletic and run the floor so there's no reason to expect the tempo to slow down with them on the floor. Three seasons into the Lon Kruger era at Oklahoma we've had a great look at his system and its success. The final pieces of the puzzle appear to be coming this year. If they can produce at their positions the same way Kruger's young guards have then the future continues to be bright and big for Oklahoma basketball.