According to Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lon Kruger, senior forward Kristian Doolittle has been suspended for the Tuesday evening’s season opener against UTSA. Doolittle participated in a summer league game without clearance from the NCAA.
Kristian Doolittle will miss opener. He played in an unsanctioned summer league game and will be penalized for one game by NCAA. #Sooners— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) November 4, 2019
Lon Kruger’s explanation for why Doolittle won’t play. #Sooners pic.twitter.com/h5Aj4qPKMS— Joe Buettner (@ByJoeBuettner) November 4, 2019
The Sooners, of course, will be playing a team coached by former OU assistant Steve Henson — one that’s picked to finish second in Conference USA. His squads have given Kruger’s teams some decent tests in recent years, and with that in mind, Doolittle’s absence from this contest isn’t exactly irrelevant. The Roadrunners aren’t going to be pushovers, so the likes of De’Vion Harmon, Jamal Bieniemy, Brady Manek and Austin Reaves will have to bear a bit more of the scoring load if they plan to avoid an upset. This also all but assures that we’ll see redshirt junior Kur Kuath in the starting lineup for this one, with Manek starting at the four in this hypothetical scenario.
As far as the penalty is concerned, this rule obviously strikes one as an NCAA overreach and yet another example of the organization conducting itself in a way that’s counter to its purpose. Having said that, Lon isn’t exactly sympathizing with him in this instance, as it seems like a simple case of a player not taking care of his business. At any rate, the Sooners will be glad to have him back for Saturday’s game vs. Minnesota in Sioux Falls, as he and Harmon are the biggest keys to Oklahoma’s success in 2019-20. If his closing stretch of the 2018-19 campaign is any indication, I expect the guy to come through in a big way as a senior.